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30 August 2013


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bob randolph

There were no threats. None were needed. "Oh, danny boy..." pl

David Habakkuk

Colonel Lang,

This is brilliant news. Of course, Congress may well decide to do something foolish. But 1. if foolish decisions are made, there is some prospect that they are made in a constitutional manner, 2. the reckless dash for war as soon as possible has been broken, which may completely change the game.

There is some prospect that claims made by the Administration about what the intelligence demonstrates may now be examined more seriously. Also, it now seems more likely that the views of the vast mass of Americans may actually have some influence on what is eventually decided.

From a parochial British point of view, after years of hearing people here talking piffle about the 'special relationship', when all it meant was that our government provided fig leaves making it somewhat easier for yours to take foolish decisions, it may be that, for once, we have actually had a helpful influence.

There is a Beatles LP where John Lennon sings a bit of 'Danny Boy'. However, it doesn't seem to have surfaced on Youtube -- unlike much more toxic material. I rather like the version by Deanna Durbin.

(See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j32Fnb_8Bv4 )

Alba Etie

Well we will have all the CongressCritters on record now . A lively debate on Checks & Balances . Too bad we cannnot get Speaker Boehner to corral the House before 9 Sept though -

Alba Etie

"from your lips to the Lord's Ear "

Alba Etie

Good to see you return here. How is the new born ? And did you close on your Home ?


President Obama made the play I was hoping for, taking it to Congress. If this do nothing congress continues to act like it has been of late, the attack on Syria won't happen until Obama leaves office. I love it, what will the Republicans do now, they can't complain he is going against the Constitution, they hate to agree with him or support him, yet they do not want to look weak to their neocon base. What a pity. The Democrats are also put in a strange position, not backing their President. If any of them listen to their constituents they must realize that a vast majority are not in favor of attacking another country in the ME. When they come back from their vacation, when is it not a vacation, they may actually have to do some work.

The Twisted Genius

"And hurrah me boys for freedom! 'Tis the risin' of the moon."

Alba Etie

Col Lang
Allow me to please echo all of our thanks for you all sending the letter . Next do you have any thought about the odds that These United States might still strike Syria now that Congress is engaged in this debate ? I believe it is very unlikely that we will now strike Syria.I also believe that its a continued effort by the Obama Administration to walk back from the RedLine /Assad Must Go rhetoric . I also believe it is a very good turn of events that we will have this debate in both the Senate & the House regarding use of force in Syria specifically & more broadly the War Powers Act . A return of functional check & balances in our National Governance Branches can only help our comity - it might even help reframe our Overton Window . Finally I also believe that the Realist are winning the debate in the Administration , the Congress, and our General Public . Sam & Sue- will not get their much sought after excellent Syrian Adventure .We are all well & truly War Weary ..

Alba Etie

Col Lang
Again we applaud the VIPS leadership & letter .
I believe that the Realist are winning this debate with the Interventionist .

Alba Etie

For the unschooled civilians here -what does Bravo Zulu mean ?


David Habakkuk


The "Lily Marlene" of Lee's army. BTW, by 1864 they were calling themselves "Lee's Miserables." pl

Will Reks

We can't be sure what exactly broke through the group-think that dominates the President's counsel. I'd much rather have GEN Dempsey in there where he can do some good than some sycophant who will roll over to the neophytes. Here's hoping Congress will strike down this foolishness and that the President will respect it's decision.



I hope that the Legislative Branch of government does what it is obligated to do and does so in public session. Obama is going to look damned stupid if administration officials show up at a public hearing and present allegations as facts. The NSA has been collecting data on 300 million Americans; they should surely know the units of the Syrian army possessing CW, their commanders and who in the chain of command has authority to issue thier use. Most importantly they need to present proof, not allegations, of who issued the order and when. If they don't and what is presented is some third party 'evidence' they would be wise to first vote no, and second demand the resignations of Clapper and Alexander for incompetence and malfeasance in office.

Further, as the President said in his 2pm address today:
"Make no mistake -- this has implications beyond chemical warfare. If we won't enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules? To governments who would choose to build nuclear arms? To terrorist who would spread biological weapons? To armies who carry out genocide?"

As we saw in most recently at the trial of US Army Sgt. Bales, the individual who committed the act was held accountable. The US Army as a whole was not held responsible for one man's conduct.

Does President Obama believe this act is a collective act of the Syrian army - with everyone bearing equal responsibility - from the gate guard at the Presidential palace to the unit commander who ordered (allegedly) the attack? Will that be the principle of our people in the future - one standard of justice for Americans and a separate but equal standard - to include collective punishment - for others? That will certainly be a new standard and not one to increase or influence or credibility in the world.

As to party politics this if nothing else should rise above 'backing the President' or opposing him as a matter of principle.



"Obama was influenced in his decision by the conclusion of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey that there was no military downside to waiting until Congress returned to session Sept. 9 to take action, the senior administration officials said."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/behind-the-scenes-obama-syria-decision-96126.html#ixzz2daAIvtpO

The beaver

It means "Well done"
Origin: http://www.navy.mil/navydata/questions/bzulu.html


Since we are all into singing I find the below most appropriate for the man of the day.

"Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears" with Anthony Kearns and Martin Dempsey




Where is Adlai Stevenson when we need him? When the Soviets were caught with their pants down he presented the evidence and the world knew who to believe. I believe that exchange between Ambassador Stevenson and Zorin helped shape world pubic opinion in the West's favor and created a sort of well of good will that it went back to, again and again. I'd go far as say the residual benefits of that good will assisted in the collapse of the former Soviet bloc and their incorporation into the Western orbit. As I see the amateur management of the Syrian war and now the President's feeble attempt to make his best case on the eve of war, I worry that our competitors/rivals aren't now experiencing a rush of good will in their favor by our apparent unwillingness or inability to, a la Stevenson in 1962, go to the UN present the evidence.



Dear Colonel,

I know of one case in which the threat of resignations at a highly inconvenient time for this administration a backdown and reversal in course. Kudos on any influence your letter played.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, I heard that Hugo's "Les Miserables" was quite popular among the Confederates.

SAC Brat

Any bets on which group will be busier in Washington DC these coming days: the White House going through NSA files on members of congress or the fourth branch of the US government (Israel) trying to sway the votes of their representatives in congress?



Yes, contrary to Northern belief there were many educated and cultivated men among them. Reading was actually done then. It is surprising that they got hold of the book that quickly. pl

Mark Logan


He did original lyrics to 'Hey Delilah' for this.


They seem appropriate to the moment.

robt willmann

Here we go ....

1. The White House late today sent to an office in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate a two-page draft of a "resolution" or "law" to authorize the U.S. military to launch an attack against the sovereign State of Syria--



2. U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (Repub.-Ohio) says that the matter will be taken up the week of September 9, when Congress returns to the Capitol.


3. On Fox News this evening, James Rosen reported that some Obama administration "officials" had said that even if Congress votes down the request to authorize the U.S. military to attack Syria, they will attack it anyway, and that others said that the door to attack Syria via the U.S. military (overtly) would be "left open", even if Congress refuses to authorize it.


Thank you Alba, good to be back.

She was born as I wish to die: Screaming and covered in someone else's blood.

Jokes aside, she's got a full head of hair and is bright eyed and aware.

I've closed on the house and currently dealing with a cow who has a love hate relationship with me and making milking a task I think I'm going to dread.

I just sold a novel and have a boxing matching coming up in November. Busy busy.


"If any of them listen to their constituents they must realize that a vast majority are not in favor of attacking another country in the ME"

Thanks to the ceaseless beating of the drums of war from officials and the media, support for intervention is actually ticking slightly upward. Obama may welcome a delay because it will give the Administration more time to work on public opinion. It will also enable him to spread responsibility around if Congress says yes - and presidents usually get their way when they want to go to war - and a good reason to back out if Congress says no.

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