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26 October 2015


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Isn't sending your uniformed military into Syria to support forces in open rebellion against the Syrian government an act of war?

Will whatever rhetoric used to justify it come back to bite us when some non-NATO country invokes this precedent?

robt willmann

The Washington Post newspaper article leaves out a couple of things.

The CIA's involvement in Syria since -- when? -- before Obama became president? The Washington Post knows full well the secret "presidential findings" that have been made about Syria, and may have even seen a copy of them (plural). I think that at least one "finding" by Obama for "covert action" against Syria was publicly said to exist, and he may have made more than one. The Bush jr. administration may have done so as well, because they were itching to attack Syria, which led former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger to say that if Bush jr. attacked Syria after the invasion of Iraq, he would last in office about 15 minutes.

The other thing the article leaves out is the now apparently useless and neutered Title 50, United States Code, Chapter 33 -- the War Powers Resolution, a/k/a the War Powers Act.





Of course, the Obama administration said that the bombing and other violent actions taken against Libya were not acts of war or even "hostilities", under the War Powers Act, and so they will ignore the law in this instance, too.

What is being proposed by Obama's advisors is obviously more than "training forces", and certainly is "involvement" in "hostilities".

The Twisted Genius


I think robert willmann may have answered your question. Yes, it's war. The declared enemy is IS and its allies, not the Syrian government or its armed forces. The CIA seems intent on toppling the Assad government. That should be stopped immediately

Babak Makkinejad


In my opinion the best avenue for the United States is to leave Muslims - especially Arabs to their won devices.

That would focus the minds of all these cats like a death sentence and they would come running to US and beg her to come back.

At that point, US would have leverage - provided she has, at the same time, reached a prior strategic understanding with Iran.

Attack on Raqqa by US only entangles her with the affairs of Muslims and drags her more into the quagmire of religious war.

ISIS demonstrated the Truth of statement uttered by a Jew when Rabin was assassinated: "Tradition, left to itself, will lead to Death." Let Muslims deal with it.


Sadly, we will probably end up doing something just "to do something." That scare me, because we have no idea or strategy in what we are doing. Wars often start when people have to do something just "to do something."

IMHO, just let Russians to deal with this mess.

The Twisted Genius


That is a reasonable option. Reaching a strategic understanding with Iran should be a priority no matter what else we do in the region. I believe a lot would flow from that one change.



In my humble opinion, what you describe here as Arab Coalition or YPG to take back Raqqa is far from enough to succeed anytime soon. I do think these Arab Coalition & YPG guys need at least a year of further recruiting and training to have the slightinst chance of succeeding.

And even then I'm sceptical. To get Raqqa liberated, I do think, needs a simultanous advance of the Syrian army on Raqqa from the west and YPG & friends from the east and north.

Charlie Wilson


Instead of shoving hot pokers up someone's ass why the f*ck don't we sit this one out and just pay for the f*cking gas like everyone else. After all it is dirt cheap and from what I hear we don't even need it that bad.


The Turks attacked the YPG in Syria twice yesterday. Davutoglu admitted this on TV. If the Kurd cross the Euphrates Turkey will hit them he said.

The U.S. NATO partner hits the U.S. ally in Syria. How ill the White House spin that?



Both the U.S. And Russia has hit the ISIS Oil industry.


The U.S. After more than 3 years, Russia after less than 3 weeks.


Yeah, I don't even understand what US interests are anymore. I guess don't let anything too bad develop for Jordan or Israel? Get a reasonable outcome for the Kurds? I'm kind of on board for all three of those, but not inclined to put much skin in the game. Let's see how the Russians do in terms of killing off the liver-eaters first.

Klaus Weiß

IMHO, this will end up as it did after the war in South Ossetia: Obama or his successor will go to Moscow and ask for the remains of his soldiers.


"The U.S. NATO partner hits the U.S. ally in Syria. How ill the White House spin that? "

They can't. Which is why they will ignore it and try to avoind answeing any questions. And it's not just Turkey, but Saudi Arabia as well as they bomb the Houthis.

Trey N

Kurdish oil is being sold to the Izzies. Where are the liver-eaters selling their oil? Follow that trail, Colonel, and you might find the answer for why you're eminently sensible third suggestion has not been carried out. (My bet would be either the Izzies or Turkey; if not them, then certainly some other NATO-aligned country.)

William R. Cumming

Did the War Powers Resolution become law in an override of a Presidential veto?

William R. Cumming

Is the 2001 AUMF the legal authority for the US involvement in Syria?

William R. Cumming

Almost no one left in Washington that analyze US interests. All about career feuding and fussing IMO!


What is it Churchill said: "Eventually the US will do the right thing when they have exhausted all other options."

So what's the right thing?

Putin seems to know...agree to Geneva, give up the "Assad must go" bullshit, kill all the terrorists scum, and live happily ever after.

Not so hard, eh?


TPTB have brought the AUMF as the legal excuse to justify any plan for more intervention in the region. For them it is the catch all legislation because it allows the US to go after those it dislikes. I believe this is the relative passage from the AUMF:

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.


The operative phrase here is "he determines". You could drive a tank through that hole.

ex-PFC Chuck

Speaking of stumbling into World War III, most of us know from personal memory and/or reading how close the Cuban Missile Crisis came to going pear shaped. Now there's an article at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that tells us that the USA came within a hair's breadth of starting the nuclear fire from, of all places Okinawa, which is about as far away from Cuba as you can get and still be on the surface of the northern hemisphere of this planet. The writer's source is then Airman John Bordne who was on duty at one of four launch control centers of a secret cruise missile base. The commanding officer at his control center, Captain William Bassett, was the most senior of his peer group, and it was his cool firmness in handling the ambiguous situation, created by an order snafu, that prevented the launching of missiles. The situation had reached the point of open the blast proof doors of the missile chambers and Basset ordering subordinates to shoot one of the other launch control officers if that's what it took to keep him from pressing the button before receiving confirmation that the launch order was correct.

One caveat. As noted, this article is based on one source. Bordne came forward apparently because he believes the story of this close run thing needs to be told in this era of a re-emergent cold war. The essence of the story was confirmed to a Japanese journalist by one other person who was there, although he refused to do so for attribution.



IS oil and gas is being sold to Turkey (with help from greased Turkish authorities), to the Syrian government (especially natural gas for electrical grid), to Kurdish middlemen (long tradition) and to non-IS Syrian rebel fighters who must pay IS with weapons or cash for diesel.

robt willmann

Yes. President Nixon vetoed it and Congress overrode his veto in 1973. Here is a little discussion of the statute from the Library of Congress--



Odin's Raven

It's known that Israel has been buying Kurdish and ISIS oil.
It's also suspected that much of this oil is 're-documented' by Israel and sold to Europe.
It is unlikely that the American government will be allowed to do anything effective against the friends of their owners.


Kurds aren't fighting the government.


Love your contributions, TTG, or the lets-do-it-type of energy they often convey, in spite of all you probably experienced.

Random pick:
"A third suggestion is to target IS infrastructure to cripple them financially. In other words, go after the oil industry and smuggling networks in Syria. We could have done this a year ago."

Yes, by now the scene has moved beyond the simplistic approach of drying-up-state-sponsor-money sources.

What is really frightening, and it was rather easy to foresee, is that whatever happened after can be selectively fitted into variations of a why-we were-right approach, e.g. "poodle" Blair's, on something called the "Global Public Square".

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