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Making a Case For Cyberwar Against Syria

timothy posted about a year ago | from the too-bad-so-few-picked-the-anti-war-candidate dept.

The Military 203

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Jason Healey writes at Defense One that if the Obama administration conducts military strikes against Syria, as now seems likely, it should use military cyber weapons at the earliest possible moment to show 'that cyber operations are not evil witchcraft but can be humanitarian.' Cyber capabilities could first disrupt Syrian air defenses directly or confuse military command and control, allowing air strikes to proceed unchallenged. A cyber strike might also disable dual-use Syrian critical infrastructure (such as electrical power) that aids the regime's military but with no long-term destruction as would be caused by traditional bombs. Last, it is possible the U.S. military has cyber capabilities to directly disrupt the operations of Syria's chemical troops. Healy writes that one cyberweapon that should not be used is covert cyber operations against Bashar Assad's finances. 'Both of his immediate predecessors declined such attacks and the world economy and financial sector are already in a perilous state.' Before the American-led strikes against Libya in 2011, the Obama administration debated whether to conduct a cyberoffensive to disrupt the Qaddafi government's air-defense system, but balked, fearing that it might set a precedent for other nations, in particular Russia or China, to carry out such offensives of their own. This time should be different in Healey's view. 'By sparing the lives of Syrian troops and nearby civilians, an opening cyber operation against Syria could demonstrate exactly how such capabilities can be compliant with international humanitarian law,' writes Healey. 'America should take this chance to demystify these weapons to show the world they, and the U.S. military in general, can be used on the battlefield in line with humanitarian principles.'"

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No (3, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#44770037)

Those who live in glass houses, should not throw stones...

Re:No (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44770119)

Those who live in glass houses, should not throw stones...

Especially not at people who live in much less glassy houses and still have plenty of stones... Seriously, unless the world of SCADA systems, consumer operating systems, and assorted web infrastructure, and such is far less of a clusterfuck than is routinely reported at security conferences, do we really want to encourage any more hackery than already goes on?

(Attempting to use the 'humanitarian' bullshit is doubly foolish: 'humanitarian' is always an object of politicized cynisism, and wouldn't it arguably be 'humanitarian' to discourage US military activities by turning out the lights in DC for a few days every time somebody gets cruise-missiled?)

Re:No (3, Interesting)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year ago | (#44770449)

No kidding! This "justification" for "war" is sounding like a broken record.

Wasting money to kill others (who disagree with you) is spiritually retarded.

When are people going to demand that violence is NOT the solution -- it is precisely part of the problem in the first place!

I'm reminded of MLK Jr's speech who said it a little more eloquently:

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

* Full transcript & audio of the brilliant speech:
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm [americanrhetoric.com]

Re:No (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44770479)

It doesn't much help that people are proposing violence as a solution to a war where there aren't even any factions we actually want winning...

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770697)

There is one, it's just nobody really knows how big or powerful it is

Re:No (0)

cavreader (1903280) | about a year ago | (#44770765)

Since the beginning of time the only real changes have been won by violence of one kind or another. I don't give a shit whether the government US bombs the hell out of Syria or do anything else for that matter. Let Syria and the surrounding region deal with it anyway they wish. The only way this type of violence happens is because of the inability of the members of the UN security council to put petty politics ahead of security. Every country on the security council has condemned the gas attacks so why can't Russia accept even a UN non-binding resolution condemning the Syrian government. The resolution is just a piece of paper that doesn't authorize any military action and does not specifically blame anyone for the gas attack. It's basically a formal acknowledgement of the conflict in general. How does Russia and China justify their stance on this purely symbolic action?

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770797)

and you got a 2. how sad. let me educated you, troll: one word: evidence. There isnt any connecting the Syrian gov to what US claims. Putin has already publicly asked for evidence. USA hasint given him any. Sure there was gassing but by whome? Simple question: who benefits throws the whole case out. But you already knew all that I suspect. You are just shilling. You are shit basically.

Re:No (2)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44771101)



Baloney. All the real advances since the beginning of civilization have been brought about by advances in science, education and exploration. Military action (which I what I have to assume you mean by 'violence') has been nothing but a destructive force throughout history, frequently arm in arm with its sibling in ignorance, religion.

And why would Russia want to condemn the Syrian government for an action which it doesn't believe they committed? Would you have condemned the North Vietnamese government for the My Lai Massacre?

Re:No (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771013)

Also, bear in mind that the majority of the rebels are made up of Al-Qaida operatives\stooges... people who have been our declared enemy since 9-11. That means aiding them is an act of treason....yet no one is paying any attention to that "little" facet of the equation.

Re:No (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about a year ago | (#44770673)

Nothing to do with "kill others who disagree with you". Everything to do with world conquest, then total control. Trillionaires want to stay trillionaires.

Re:No (2, Insightful)

Stan92057 (737634) | about a year ago | (#44770703)

What would you do to stop this tyrant who kills his own men ,women, children, by chemical weapons? Say please stop? Speechs are feel good things that dont do shit. What is your solution.Speechs are not solutions.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770813)

yet another shill.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

FishOuttaWater (1163787) | about a year ago | (#44771029)

You seem to be starting from the assumption that we have to be the ones to stop him. Do you think you can stop every bad person from doing every bad thing? If you just want to save lives, you'd have a lot more impact per dollar going after mosquitoes. If it's not about the lives, then what is it about?

Re:No (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#44770861)

and assorted web infrastructure, and such is far less of a clusterfuck than is routinely reported at security conferences, do we really want to encourage any more hackery than already goes on?

Would this be known as Asshackery?

Re:No (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44771111)

Only if the luxury electronic toilets are the targets of attack.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#44770149)

Forget about the houses... America has a glass neighborhood.

Let's assume for just a moment that the government has magically secured its own systems against any particular attack. The next target of convenience for any retaliation is everybody else. Remember the headaches when Anonymous lashed out at Mastercard? Now add in a military's knowledge and resources, and it won't just be credit cards that won't work. Everybody from health care to restaurants becomes a target, and the usual rules of engagement don't really apply.

The government will survive. It might take a few hits, but I suspect the American military's networks are disparate enough that no single attack will completely cripple their ability to function. The civilians, though, are far less protected and far less resilient. One bad week can mean the end for many small businesses, leading to widespread fear, and another economic crisis.

A war over the Internet is the current nuclear option. We don't want it, and we can't survive it, but it is one heck of a powerful weapon.

Re:No (1)

anubi (640541) | about a year ago | (#44770967)

Since the IRS is becoming increasingly reliant on the internet, I see the time coming IRS themselves will be targeted with arrays of bogus returns, making it very difficult to prove who filed what. A computer can issue a million bogus returns before I even begin to read the instructions on what the Government wants me to do this year.

All the information on millions of people are now accessible on the net, making a cyberwar effort to spoof millions of returns containing enough correct data to make them credible exist. Our Congress has already made the storage and sharing of this information legal and the capability exists to transfer terabytes of info in a few seconds.

The object would be to keep taxpayers from feeding Vaal by stuffing its mouth with detritus.. ( reference to Star Trek: TOS ). [wikipedia.org]

Re:No (1)

FishOuttaWater (1163787) | about a year ago | (#44771031)

...and do we really want to show our cards as to what our capabilities are over a minor regional conflict? Save the surprise for when it's needed.

Re:No (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770181)

^ This..

You don't win wars by levelling the playing field, you win by using advantage. When it comes to cyber-terrorism and the like, the US has no advantage, if anything, it's potentially disadvantaged over less developed nations.

Re:No (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about a year ago | (#44770391)

^ This..

You don't win wars by levelling the playing field, you win by using advantage. When it comes to cyber-terrorism and the like, the US has no advantage, if anything, it's potentially disadvantaged over less developed nations.

Too true. One of the most gifted ASIC engineers grew up where he and others in his mountain town had to walk miles to get to
a bus that could get to "civilization".

One smart and clever man is all that might be needed to crack the cyber lock on
a nation or more.

Note well that war is not civilized yet may prove necessary when a bad guy or rogue nation go sideways.
There is nothing civilized in a developed nation waging war on an ill developed nation.

The troubling red line to not cross is when a developed nation also becomes
a bad guy, rogue nation.

Now to go and compost all the horse stuff I have accumulated.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771087)

I'm confused. We have been complaining about cyber attacks from China the last couple of years calling them evil. And then then US decides to cyber attack someone and all of a sudden it's "OK" when we do it? That is unconscionable arrogance on the part of the Obama regime.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771109)

I still don't see wherefrom this low life thinks he or my country derives this right to kill people of other countires either with bombs or cripling infrastructure but Syrian government can't use whatever they can to fight terrorists. IMHO, using pepper spray on students in the US is eqaul to using Sarin in Syria. Lets start hauling our own past and present war criminals' assess to Gitmo before we keep repeating like a broken record "Thou shal not this, Thou shal not that".

Re:No (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44771135)

Those who live in glass houses, should not throw stones...

Shouldn't dance naked. On another note, is a warmongering Nobel peace prize recipient an oxymoron?

Ehm... (-1, Troll)

egr (932620) | about a year ago | (#44770041)

What a load of horseshit

MODERATORS!!! EMERGENCY! READ THIS IMMEDIATELY!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770403)

MOD PARENT =-=UP=-=

Amen.

Re:MODERATORS!!! EMERGENCY! READ THIS IMMEDIATELY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770687)

Anyone who says the word "cyber" should be droned.

Nope, this is an act of war! (4, Insightful)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44770089)

How many times do we have to tell the Government that they must obey the law? Only Congress can declare war! If the CIA is found to be engaging in acts of war with foreign nations, they need to be held accountable. If politicians, such as Obama, defy the constitution they need to be held accountable. If corporations are found to be engaging in acts of war, they need to be held accountable. This is obviously a request for you, the people, to demand that the law be enforced.

If you start with the agents and put them on trial for treason, evidence will grow for higher ups. There is no immunity in this simply because someone was following orders. We, the people, need to stop accepting law breakers sitting in public offices.

We have let things slide for over 40 years, and if you keep ignoring the severity of the situation we won't have a USA or a world worth living in.

Re:Nope, this is an act of war! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770135)

We have let things slide for over 40 years, and if you keep ignoring the severity of the situation we won't have a USA or a world worth living in.

From the movie Se7en:

William Somerset: Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part.

Yup.

Re:Nope, this is an act of war! (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#44770205)

The president can order an attack without congressional approval (a cold war concession made long ago - if the Reds nuke us, we can nuke em back right away), but requires approval within 90 days IIRC. So the executive could initiate a cyber-attack, just as the president could order an airstrike.

The War Powers Act Checks Presidential Power (4, Informative)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44770331)

What you're referring to is the War Powers Act [wikipedia.org] . This does allow the president the ability to engage in conflict on short notice and without a declaration of war, but the act was designed to check the president's warmaking powers, restricting it to specific conditions. According to the act, the president can only act by statutory authorization or "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces." Presidents (R and D alike) have tended to focus on the details like the 60 to 90 days they have discretion, while ignoring the conditions under which such discretion is allowed. Unless we are in a national emergency (i.e. a nuking or a Pearl Harbor like event), Presidents act against the letter of the War Powers Act if they exercise such powers.

I point all this out because its so often misrepresented in the media, which rarely questions a President's authority to go to war (again, R or D president).

Re:The War Powers Act Checks Presidential Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771351)

Why when the President goes to war contrary to the War Powers Act is it never challenged in court? The president must be following the letter of the law or the Supreme Court would override the President.

Re:Nope, this is an act of war! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770407)

Close, but it is more complicated than this. The President can order an attack without Congressional approval [cornell.edu] per the War Powers Resolution: "The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to ... a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces".

But. There is always a 'but'. But, no President has considered the War Powers Resolution binding. They have interpreted the Commander-in-Chief clause in the Constitution as giving the President the power to make war, but not declare it. This is a pity because the War Powers Resolution was designed to prevent allowing the US being pulled into a war and as a correction to Nixon continuing to wage war in Vietnam after the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was repealed (which in itself gave the President unlimited time and resources in which to wage war). Not surprisingly, the War Powers Resolution required Congress to override Nixon's veto which he continued to ignore.

Re:Nope, this is an act of war! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771153)

How is Congress allowed to declare war. The senate signed a treaty with the UN, that makes declaring wars ILLEGAL. See 2(4) of the UN Charter.

Nope, no (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about a year ago | (#44770107)

Are we at war with Syria?

Well then, I guess no war, "cyber" or otherwise.

Re:Nope, no (4, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44770809)

US is actually in war with everyone, specially in the cyber realm. They have (or think their have) the upper hand and then is happily going against all the world, not just spying, but infiltrating, planting backdoors, sabotaging, and other activities that in their own opinion deserves decades in jail if is done by civilians. They aren't doing this for preserving the peace, protecting their citizens or attack terrorists, they are doing it because they want war, they profit from it, and they think they can win it, no matter the cost in lives.

They are trying to legalize the war in Syria (that probably they or their associates are instingating [mintpressnews.com] ) , so they can define hacking as something similar to weapon of mass destruction, and justify intervention in even more countries.

Re:Nope, no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771171)

True, they will take it to the point where a lone "hacker" will be considered to have declared war on the USA, and will obliterate the lone "hackers" country's infrastructure, unless (of course) the country is able to defend itself against the USA. They only pick on weaker countries, but they'll hype them up so the sheeple perceive them as a threat.

This will never stop until the war billionaires (the evil bloated vampires at the top, as I call them) are hurt in the pocket.

Syria's seen it before (4, Informative)

ubrgeek (679399) | about a year ago | (#44770115)

Also with their air defense systems. [theregister.co.uk]

Lets not tip our hand with this shithole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770121)

Might as well save the good stuff for the counter-attack against Russia or China. Maybe send Iran back to the dark ages to match their mindset.

No, they shouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770127)

I would only do this if there is a direct threat to the United States. This is currently not the case.

A properly secured system could not be infiltrated, so these attacks would exploit and thereby expose weaknesses that could subsequently be addressed, making it harder to penetrate their systems next time. Some of these weaknesses may be shared by other future enemies of the United States, and therefore may be fixed before an attack, weakening the States' position in such an upcoming conflict.

!Seems likely (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | about a year ago | (#44770137)

Something fishy when the uber-parent claims that war "seems likely," when the House will almost vote war down, and the Senate is about to experience a filibuster.

Re:!Seems likely (4, Insightful)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#44770261)

the funny thing about this "war", is that the "facts" come from the same people that the Democrats discredited during the Iraq war. Now that Obama wants a war to distract everyone from his other disastrous wars (like Egypt, Benghazi, ...), the press is willing to forget their claims against these sources. Anything for Obama, and the Democrats.

Re:!Seems likely (1)

hallkbrdz (896248) | about a year ago | (#44770541)

Not that we would actually go to "WAR".

That last happened on Dec 8, 1941, and so we actually then had a Commander in Chief, unlike now.

But facts and laws being pesky things are all but ignored by the ruling class, they are just for us peasants.

Re:!Seems likely (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44770371)

The sad thing is that the President has already declared it his right to initiate the war unilaterally and he has plenty of cheerleaders [cnn.com] , including in the supposed opposition party [weeklystandard.com] , who will support action even without Congressional approval.

So... (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44770153)

Apparently we should use 'cyber' weapons; but not against the finances of the guy we accuse of killing ~100k people; because the poor, poor, banks might get weepy or something. What kind of bullshit is this? Sure, target the Syrian electrical grid (it's "dual use"!) but don't touch the financial markets, they have feelings too(and apparently financial markets aren't "dual use" much to the confusion of money launderers, mercenaries, and plundering kleptocrats worldwide?)

Re:So... (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | about a year ago | (#44770531)

Ummmm how about we don't give the US the right to screw with peoples bank accounts just because the US has accused them of something. Considering the US track record of getting accusations right and all.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770659)

The more bank accounts that get screwed with, the more people will seek out alternatives for wealth storage, like bitcoin.

Re:So... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44770839)

The more bank accounts that get screwed with, the more people will seek out alternatives for wealth storage, like bitcoin.

I'm not sure that electronic attacks will have people flocking to a notably-dogged-by-electronic-theft cryptographic currency... Yeah, after every attack, it is carefully explained that the person attacked was a noob who had it coming because they skipped some implementation detail; but that's rarely very helpful.

Re:So... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44770833)

I'm not saying that doing that is a good idea; rather mocking the (honestly rather repulsive) worldview of somebody who casually suggests that attacking Syrian infrastructure would be a demonstration of how 'humane' "cyber" war can be; but warns against the terribly dangerous path of going after financial assets. You have to be kind of a ragingly bad person to suggest that zapping every SCADA system that looks vulnerable in an entire country is a good opportunity to prove that cyberwarfare is a fine, upstanding, sort of activity, while simultaneously warning that zeroing a few bank accounts is just to terrifying to contemplate. Though, this guy does seem to be a ragingly bad person, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised.

Re:So... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44771065)

I think the US is hoping that Syria kept its US/UK/French/German hardware network connected like in Serbia, Libya, Argentina (vs UK), Iran, Iraq...
The other view is to call the top staff in Syria and offer them a way out.
Have problems at a critical time and a new life 'anywhere' is offered when the freedom fighters surround your city.
Spin up the Russian tech and the fog of war gets very messy - no deal, no papers, no new life, no banking.
Just swarms of foreign 'freedom fighters' and their drone linked helpers.

Can we at least formally declare WAR first? (1)

CQDX (2720013) | about a year ago | (#44770169)

If we commit acts of war, regardless whether or not the acts are justified, lets at least declare war. If Congress and the President can't bring themselves to do so, then there is no reason to get involved whatsoever.

maybe the united states... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770177)

should try not being a bankrupt shit hole.

Suppression of Air Defenses is NOT humanitarian (1)

simishag (744368) | about a year ago | (#44770193)

Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD aka Wild Weasel) is a combat tactic intended to reduce friendly losses and improve the effectiveness of air strikes. That is, to kill more of them and less of us. How in hell does someone consider that "humanitarian"?

This is one of the most Orwellian pieces of doublespeak I've read all year.

Re:Suppression of Air Defenses is NOT humanitarian (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44770551)

True. But this is not surprising really. Hawks (presenting themselves as humanitarians) have been talking about establishing a no-fly zone as a less aggressive alternative to direct war with the Syrian army for more than a year. People talk about a establishing a no-fly zone as though it only involves ordering the Syrian military to cease flying planes and occasionally flying our own jets over the area to make sure they do as we say. In fact, establishing a no-fly zone means beginning with a bombing campaign (SEAD, as you say) to destroy radar and AA and partnered by strikes against air assets (it simply won't do if they can fight back). All the while, anytime the enemy should attempt to engage with ground forces, the use of force will be immediately justified, allowing engagement with those.

Anytime I hear promises of easy, limited engagement, I'm brought back to the promises made in 2003. This war would be short; the Iraqis would all just lay down arms; it would really be a budget war. Since then, we've spent equivalent to nearly a third of our current national debt on that war and (last I checked) 4486 American lives.

Re:Suppression of Air Defenses is NOT humanitarian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771209)

Funny how no-one ever mentions the 100,000+ civilians dead as a result of that "intervention"

Re:Suppression of Air Defenses is NOT humanitarian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771237)

Fewer than Saddam would have killed on average. Funny how no-one ever mentions that.

Re:Suppression of Air Defenses is NOT humanitarian (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44771319)

This is sometimes true, but not always. It happens I care (and many more do who protest the war just this sort of reason). Not only do some care about those who've died in the war, but even those who die as a result of sanctions [wikipedia.org] . But you know what? Sometimes it's healthy to target an argument. The fact is, most people can't be convinced to care about foreigners who speak the same language as those whom their neighbors have been called on to fight. But they might be persuaded to care about their neighbors who're called to fight, and perhaps to die.

Re:Suppression of Air Defenses is NOT humanitarian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771063)

When the army is bombing their own cities, which is a fact, destroying the air bases/artillery is humanitarian. Is that so hard to understand ?

Chemical Weapons Convention (1)

wrackspurt (3028771) | about a year ago | (#44770207)

Here's the wikipedia link [wikipedia.org] on the Chemical Weapons Convention. From the news reports I've picked up on it's the reason behind a military strike on Syria.

Re:Chemical Weapons Convention (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#44770811)

Completely irrelevant, Syria has not signed that treaty so are not bound by it. Irael, a US ally, has not ratified it either.

We are not at war with Syria, and have no reason whatsoever to engage them in war. History shows intervention by the USA in a civil war is a guarentee to quadruple the body count, we don't help we kill and destroy for defense contractor oppotunity.

Syrians will continue to kill each other regardless of what the USA does, and it doesn't matter what weapons they use. dead is dead.

Re:Chemical Weapons Convention (1)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#44770909)

You might note that Syria has not signed nor ratified it, so they have no obligations to follow it. Nor have they ever pretended to follow it. It's no secret they have the weapons.

Gases are ugly but as 'weapons of mass destruction' they are fairly overblown. Nothing like the wimpy little A-bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is why the major powers will agree to chemical weapons treaties for moral high ground while at the same time loudly proclaiming that they hold the option 'on the table' to launch nuclear attacks without even being attacked first.

And it just does not seem likely at all the Syrans used them here. With the inspectors right there, no military or strategic value being served, they just decided to randomly open up some cans of gas and hit civilians with them? It might make some sense if the war was lost and he was huddled in his bunker going out with a bang, but the regime is set to win this one.

It makes much more sense that one of the jihadis who are facing the grim possibility of defeat, sacrificed some innocents in order to trigger Mr Obamas 'red line' and the promised intervention to save Al Qaida^W^Nusra from the harsh fate Assad has in mind for them.

At the very least, it would make sense to let the inspectors gather evidence before you start killing even more innocents no?

And as long as we are talking about international law, the UN charter, which everyone concerned has assented to, requires Security Council authorization before a strike. And the only obstacle to an SC resolution appears to be the desire of some members to wait for the inspectors and the evidence.

It's not an easy day to be proud to be an American.

Rebels released the chemical weapons. (5, Informative)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a year ago | (#44770209)

There appears to be much evidence that it was in fact the rebels that used the chemical weapons which were supplied by the Saudis,

1) Video evidence of Chemical weapons being launched.
2) Photographic evidence of the weapons being Saudi.
3) Testimony from Syrian rebels from the faction that had the weapons and admitted they didn't know what they were doing with them.

http://www.wnd.com/2013/08/video-shows-rebels-launching-gas-attack-in-syria/ [wnd.com]

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-30/dont-show-obama-report-about-who-really-behind-syrian-chemical-attacks [zerohedge.com]

http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/08/rebels-admit-responsibility-for-chemical-weapons-attack-chemical-weapons-supplied-by-saudi-arabia-not-syria-forwarded-by-erasmus-of-america-august-31-2013-905-am-2751942.html [beforeitsnews.com]

And anyway, what is American Military going to do, team up with Al Qaeda and Hezbollah to attack Syria and kill hundreds of thousands more people in the middle east?

Re:Rebels released the chemical weapons. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770349)

Well, if there is anything the US loves to do its kill people in the middle east. So I think the answer is yes.

Re:Rebels released the chemical weapons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771221)

Yeah, seems to be their favourite hobby.

Re:Rebels released the chemical weapons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770483)

I like how those stories are particulary hard to find through my american search engines.

Re:Rebels released the chemical weapons. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770515)

Are you seriously taking WND seriously? Lol, they make up 10 times more "facts" than Fox News and CNN put together.

Re:Rebels released the chemical weapons. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770665)

Lol, they are more serious than our current president and his hand puppet secretary of state.

Are you taking those guys seriously? The anti-war team that suddenly wants some military creds before the 2014 mid-term elections?

Check your head.

Re:Rebels released the chemical weapons. (3, Informative)

seyyah (986027) | about a year ago | (#44770539)

And anyway, what is American Military going to do, team up with Al Qaeda and Hezbollah to attack Syria and kill hundreds of thousands more people in the middle east?

Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah are not on the same side.

Re:Rebels released the chemical weapons. (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44771247)

Depends. They both hate the US and Israel.

Re:Rebels released the chemical weapons. (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44770683)

There appears to be much evidence that it was in fact the rebels that used the chemical weapons which were supplied by the Saudis,

There appears to be a lot of false evidence and fabrications, that's for sure. The allegation is that the chemical agent used is the nerve gas called Sarin.

Sarin gas was used in Syrian chemical weapons attack, says David Cameron [theguardian.com]

Sarin is not a dual purpose industrial gas that can be used as a chemical weapon, it is a pure chemical weapon. Saudi Arabia isn't known to have Sarin, and they have signed the treaties against it. Sarin is extremely deadly and not really a substance for haphazard manufacture or haphazard loading into munitions. If the allegation is that the Saudi's are supplying Sarin, the question is: "Where did they get it?" From Saddam? He used to have it, but I think we can agree that one is right out. Iran? No, Iran is fighting on the other side. So where did it come from?

I think that any claim that the Saudis supplied the Syrian rebels with Sarin gas weapons is a fabrication.

Re:Rebels released the chemical weapons. (3, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44771011)

Sarin is extremely deadly and not really a substance for haphazard manufacture or haphazard loading into munitions.

You are saying that the entire filthy rich state of Saudi Arabia cannot do what some small, underground sect in Japan was able to do a couple decades ago?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarin_gas_attack_on_the_Tokyo_subway [wikipedia.org]

Re:Rebels released the chemical weapons. (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44771203)

Before directly answering your question I will point out that the allegations of Saudi involvement for Sarin based on the presented "evidence" is nonsense. As to your question....

Yes, pretty much - the Saudis couldn't "do" what Aum Shinrikyo did. They are two different types of events. The attack in Tokyo was a terrorist attack with hand-carried home-brew sarin (made by a group with over $1,000,000,000 in assets) used to attack people in a highly enclosed space (about the best possible environment for the success of their attack) and it only managed to kill 13 people*. That isn't very effective. The attack in Syria killed over 1,400 people in the open, and was delivered by artillery rockets, not by plastic bag. Killing people in those circumstances is much more difficult. The success of the Syrian attack points to much more sarin used in the attack, higher purity in the sarin used, which means much more sophisticated chemical agent processing, deliberate development of chemical agent rocket artillery warheads, and proper planning and weapons handling needed to build a lethal dose of the nerve gas chemical agent on the target under the specific weather conditions. All of those activities would potentially be detectable to intelligence operations, but there don't seem to be any indications of that regarding the Saudis and rebels. A shipment of chemical weapons is almost certainly going to be handled differently than ordinary high explosives, and will probably be detectable by intelligence operations, something which I haven't heard any indication of regarding the Saudis and rebels.

There do seem to be indications of the Assad regime handling such weapons though.

Here Is the Evidence the U.S. Has on a Syrian Chemical-Weapons Attack [businessinsider.com]
Troops led by Assad’s brother likely to blame for chemical weapons, Syrian activists say [washingtontimes.com]

Highly effective chemical agent rocket warheads aren't something that are just tossed off the assembly line for plastic water bottles on alternate weeks. They are a highly specialized weapon with many highly specialized components. The Saudis have signed the treated banning them, and I thought it was common wisdom by many on Slashdot that every country on earth followed treaties without cheating except for the US. How could the Saudi's cheat?

* Al Qaida had planned attacks on the New York subway system but called them off because they weren't certain that they would kill enough people to maintain their reputation.

Re:Rebels released the chemical weapons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771049)

You idiot, Hezbollah are fighting for Assad.

Re:Rebels released the chemical weapons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771083)

Is this guy credible or a nut?
  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXS3vW47mOE

Humanitarian Battlefield (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770265)

I totally love it how the article uses the words Battlefield and Humanitarian in the same sentence.

Killing people is just so meh in the US these days.

all america does is create enemies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770271)

how long til someone in the middle east avenges the death of a loved one by turning a major american city into a parking lot?

Re:all america does is create enemies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770693)

Isn't it interesting that you don't seem to worry about America's avenging that action?

Re:all america does is create enemies (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#44770829)

because thus far we haven't avenged anything including 9/11 attacks. We just scattered Al Qaeda to the four corners of the islamic world, and made Iraq, where they weren't, into an Al Qaeda recruiting center. right now we're negotiating with the Taliban in Afghanistan, because we suck so very very badly at avenging. Let's imagine a superhero who looks like Uncle Sam, called "The Failed Avenger". He'll be so quick on the draw he shoots his foot off, and when he swings his Mace of Justice at an enemy he'll miss and whack his nutsack.

DURRRRTARD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770307)

"Cyber capabilities could first disrupt Syrian air defenses directly or confuse military command and control, allowing air strikes to proceed unchallenged."......
That's not the role of "cyber warfare"(whatever that is), but is instead falls in the well established domain of Electronic Warfare.

The US should stay the hell out of Syria (4, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#44770325)

The US should stay the hell out of Syria's civil war. Both sides are vicious, dictatorship-prone fanatics. There is no "good" side to support. It's either the existing brutal dictatorship or an Al-Queda inspired bunch of Sharia nutbars.

I feel sorry for the people of Syria caught in the middle of it, but bombing the shit out of the country isn't going to make a decent democracy emerge.

Re:The US should stay the hell out of Syria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770463)

Even if there WERE a "good" side to support, that would NOT warrant us going in there!

Re:The US should stay the hell out of Syria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770471)

Agreed. To be fair there are moderates in the Free Syrian Army. However there are many, many extremists, both in and outside of the FSA.

My concern is that if the Syrian opposition wins and topples the Assad regime, what follows will be a purge of the moderates. This is very similar to what happened in France after the French revolution. That led to the time appropriately known as the Terror. This also happened in Russia after the revolution there.

Following any revolution there is a dangerous time. If the moderates are strong and firmly take control the revolution moderates. In effect they purge any extremists. However if the extremists are strong, it rewards their willingness to do anything, take any measure. Then the moderates get purged.

Re:The US should stay the hell out of Syria (2)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about a year ago | (#44770669)

bombing the shit out of the country isn't going to make a decent democracy emerge.

Quite, and certainly not in Syria.

What is most perplexing is why the US is so bent on arming the Syrian rebels. In the past the US has been absolutely terrified of political Islam.

It now seems willing to embrace and fund it, even if one or more of the parties of rebels are linked to terrorist groups. Deposed dictators like Mubarak, Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran and so on have been used in the past to stop the forming of an Islamic government.

Perhaps it's because they'll get a better deal out of the new rulers than the old. Perhaps it's to weaken a Russian ally. Is there much oil in Syria? Perhaps they want oil again.

In Iraq where one of the first laws passed after the invasion was the implementation of US style copyright laws. Perhaps this has been set up by the RIAA? After all, the US helped overthrow a government for United Fruit once.

I imagine whenever the US decides to go to war, the president just spins a little wheel in the White House marked "justification" and runs with whatever it lands on.

Re:The US should stay the hell out of Syria (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44771019)

Its seems to be that some regions are fine if they just export oil and buy US tanks/jets/buildings/bases - be good with the petrodollar use and ongoing US banking.
Once the real universities start, woman get educated, trade deals are looked at and internal nation building understands the reality of the petrodollar - classic freedom fighter/new colour time.
The same brand/database of "freedom fighters" seems to pop up at the perfect time, with new weapons, papers and funding. Some years as 'good' some years as 'evil'.

Re:The US should stay the hell out of Syria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771217)

Because if they do nothing, there will be a very long war, with either Assad winning, signaling dictators of the world that they should use every weapon they have to quell a revolution. Or the extremists win, an al qaeda country is not good for the US (or anyone that values freedom).
There are moderates, but they need help to overcome both Assad and the extremists. Though that help should have come at least a year ago.
Moderate islamic government are much better than a ruthless dictator, or than extremists. And they are natural for a mostly conservative islamic society, the society needs time to evolve like the west did.

BHDDOD=Acronym for... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770395)

"Bone-Headed Dumb Dumb On Dumb (or whatever else you may prefer the "DOD" stand for)." Because, it is bone-headed stupid to assume that because the people in the Middle-East, except for "Tthe Really Smart Jews", are "Just A Bunch Of Arabs", they are cyber-illiterates who imagine the internet to operate by "witchcraft".

Where it comes to computers and the internet the peoples of so-called third-world nations are the literatti: They know more than 90% of America's "computer experts", because they learn the findamentals to qualify for jobs offered by American computer companies, either where they live or in the United States where program-writers who understand the fundamentals and the underlying code are needed. The majority of American IT "experts" are script-monkeys, because they could not be bothered to learn the fundamentals. They are the ones who "do magic", conjuring programs using scripting languages that do what they want, though they don't know how (apologies if I step on toes).

In the 18th and 19th centuries American Indians lost to the white-man again and again because they adopted guns, but did not learn how to make gun-powder. They were dependent on the white-man for powder and shot. American cyber-warriors, if they start in with cyber-weapons they only know how to set off with scripts will be in the same position the American Indians were, while third-worlders, because they know the 'chemistry' will be in the white-man position.

civilians are dual-use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770425)

Attacking dual use infrastructure what both sides are doing when they attack civilians allied to the other side. How is a US attack going to help anything when the Syrians don't hold to the US definition of "humanitarian"?

I have an idea (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44770437)

They should make a Syrian language version of Final Fantasy Online and release it for free in the country. Productivity will drop to zero, the GDP will go down the toilet, and their entire economy will collapse. That would work better than a more obvious cyber attack.

Re:I have an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771003)

Do you realize how much FFXI and FFXIV have been hacked? All that stuff, you name it, has already gone on.

Bullshit (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | about a year ago | (#44770459)

"Last, it is possible the U.S. military has cyber capabilities to directly disrupt the operations of Syria's chemical troops." How are they going to stop assads chemical troops with cyber warfare? Even if he had any (which to be honest dosn't make any sence; he was winning why would he piss off the internation community) i really doubt they would have them hooked up to the internet.

What a tool (1)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#44770511)

"'By sparing the lives of Syrian troops and nearby civilians, an opening cyber operation against Syria could demonstrate exactly how such capabilities can be compliant with international humanitarian law,' writes Healey."

Yes, indeed. Let us demonstrate our moral rightness by launching an illegal war, to enforce international law. Oh, wait, they know that is nonsense so they are saying 'international norm' instead.

Even if it were an actual violation of international law, responding with an assault that itself violates international law would still be hypocritical. But for this, neither anglo-saxon nor latin provides me with a word sufficient to describe it. I can only resort to yiddish and call it chutzpah, and even that seems weak.

there is no case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770579)

it's called mind your own fucking business.

Syria is a technically advanced country? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770613)

Keep dreaming your electric dreams of world conquest. A bayonette and hollow. Total fucking troll.

The air that we breathe is a dual use commodity (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about a year ago | (#44770645)

From what I have heard you can't destroy chemical weapons with cruise missile strikes or LOL "cyber attacks". To even try would be dangerous and counterproductive.

As for this insane talk about weakening capacity what kind of degredation is needed to prevent someone from walking over to a chemical weapons supply room and walking out with chemicals? I am unable to comphrend the bredth of stupidity and insanity embedded in TFAs or the US administrations line of thought.

are you f-in kidding me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770789)

http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/1lt3g1/feds_beg_ny_times_pro_publica_not_to_reveal_that/

http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/1lsvip/us_and_uk_spy_agencies_defeat_privacy_and/

after the above bullshit comes to light round the world
you will not find one hacker on earth to even come to your aid in fact the opposite .....

your gonna see the usa get pounded to rubble on the net in the next few days unless htey really really come clean....and stop this bullcrap
Chronoss
Chairperson
United hackers association

Cute Idea But... (1)

twmcneil (942300) | about a year ago | (#44770831)

How does this square with the ACM's Code of Ethics, Section 1.2 - "Avoid Harm to Others"?

OH NO - where do these people come from? (1)

johnwerneken (74428) | about a year ago | (#44770847)

johnwerneken
  a few seconds ago

DISAGREE.

Perhaps Pearl Harbor was NOT an act of war. It was after all only a single airborne strike, doing limited damage (no aircraft carriers were even hit - as they were not there at the time), with no boots on the ground.

Acts of War are not casual and typically have consequences unanticipated and undesired by those who commit them.

They wouldn't want to tip off China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44770949)

as to their cyber capabilities.

Making a case for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771093)

not having a command-n-chimp for president would be a better approach...
so far, we have had two - bush and obama...
just say no...

Re:Making a case for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771219)

seriously man, bush was fucking horrible but obama is fucking horrible too, i dont' even care what party wins just for once can we not have a sleazy retard, the country can't take much more of this bullshit

It seems backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44771165)

Why is it that when Bush the Younger was making the case for wars of self-interest, where America either was retaliating for action or pre-emptively striking a country we worried might collude with terrorists to attack us, the Democrats said we had to get UN approval and a coalition.

But when we're supposedly upholding international norms, they tell us it is ok to got it alone and unilaterally attack?

If this is really an international norm, then why isn't there an international response? It seems we can list about 200+ countries that do not consider the use of poison gas against civilians to be a problem. This includes not just known human rights violators like Russia, China, and Japan, but even includes more civilized places like Germany, Denmark, Japan, and Canada. To my knowledge none of these countries are publicly willing to put force behind an punitive attack.

If no one believes the norm should be enforced, then it isn't really an enforceable norm. Given the lack of anyone else willing to enforce, America should not attack Syria but instead should stockpiling poison gas of its own and make it very clear that it is prepared to use it. If anyone doesn't like it, too bad for them; they should have been willing to help out.

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