Watch a live feed below of The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s debate on a resolution authorizing the use of force against Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons.

UPDATE:

Video removed after hearing’s completion.

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Nirek
Member

Republicans (some) are going to vote against striking Syria for the wrong reasons. They want to hurt the President. I am against it for what I think is the right reason. This will cost us many more dollars. The Pentagon will ask for more. It could suck us into a full WAR.

Assad is a bad guy, so are many of the opposition. I don’t like it. It reminds me of my experience in Vietnam. We were hated by the north and the VC and many of the south. We could not tell who was the good guy over there. They all dressed the same , were all slight, with black hair. For us it was impossible to differentiate VC from south Vietnamese or north Vietnamese. We were shot at by children.

This will end badly and we will wind up paying to fix their infrastructure while ours crumbles.

Assad is a despot but we are NOT the worlds police force.

I hope the President will heed this warning. There is much on the line. If it escalates we could get mired in another endless WAR.

kesmarn
Admin

Nirek, funk, AdLib, Frennie, and all the rest of the Planeteers — may I play devil’s advocate for a moment?

While I honestly haven’t formed a final opinion on the Syria situation, I’ve been thinking hard about the President’s position and the reasons for it. Does he have a point — or several points?

Is he being the anti-Neville Chamberlain here?

Does there come a time when someone — anyone — finally has to punch the schoolyard bully in the face? Even if he has no back-up? Because otherwise the bully is just going to keep on terrorizing kindergarteners indefinitely?

We’ve already tried sanctioning the bully, reasoning with the bully, reasoning with the bully’s friends — nothing works. Because the bully is nuts.

Going to the faculty or the student council won’t work because Russia and China — council members and buddies with the bully — are going to block any attempts to discipline him.

We don’t want to hurt the bully’s family or shut down the school; we just want to deliver the punch that might send the message that this is not okay.

The other day I watched the ancient Jimmy Stewart/John Wayne movie:”The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” It raised the very same questions. What happens when no one — not one person — will stand up to a bully?

We worry about war resulting from a punitive strike, but if we do nothing, will the result still be war, and a loss of credibility on the part of those who say that they stand for the rights of the oppressed?

I wish I knew…

funksands
Member

Kes, someone needs to play devil’s advocate. We only need about 100 more of them to address each issue.

Assad isn’t threatening to overrun another’s borders.

He’s made no threats against other countries.

He’s a monster (even taking the chem weapons out of the conversation) but he doesn’t rise to the level of 1980’s Saddam, let alone Hitler.

kesmarn
Admin

Perhaps more due to lack of opportunity than lack of will, funk? I have every confidence that he would be Hitler if he could.

It’s almost comparable to knowing that your neighbor is beating his wife and children, and trying to make the decision as to whether and when to “get involved.” After all — there is the very real possibility that things will get even worse if you do. Not only for the whistle-blower, but for the wife and kids.

Very tough situation.

funksands
Member

Kes, I don’t know. This guy was literally forced to take over the country. His brother was groomed to take over for his dad while Bashar was supposed to become a doctor. Brother died and he got drafted. He hasn’t shown any initiative to do anything other than keep control of his own country and his family business intact. Your most basic dictator thug.

Nirek
Member

Kes, there are many good reasons to “punch the bully”. However this kind of “punch” could have unforeseen collateral damage in the form of innocent lives.

kesmarn
Admin

I hear you, Nirek. I’m just wondering if even more innocent lives will be lost by doing nothing. I honestly don’t know.

funksands
Member

Hokay, I think I finally have a handle on my take on the Syria issue.

1. Thanks to the President for turning this issue over to Congress and the public debate that it has generated. Hopefully this re-establishes an appropriate process for the consideration of issues like this.

As the executive officer of the military and the nation I realize the President has a tremendous amount of latitude to decide to do whatever he wants anyway, but this is the deliberative process that needs to occur.

How useful will this particular Congress be? Ha!
However, regardless of how broken Congress is or how much we trust Obama’s judgement, its not just about them, its about a process that will stand the test of whomever is in Congress or the Presidency.

2. The news out of Syria is awful. The use of chemical weapons (should the UN report show this) is abhorrent. Whomever (likely Assad) is responsible for this alleged attach deserves to sit in a dark hole for the rest of their lives.

That said. I have a TREMENDOUS amount of (scorn?) for government officials and those who support SOMETHING against the government of Syria based on the deaths of 1400 people. As if letting this happen unanswered shows tacit approval of the action. That’s bullshit.

The US government does what it does because it is in it’s interests. No other reason. I would love for everyone to be honest about this. That’s as good as reason as any for action in any particular situation.

Does ignoring the 5 million deaths by machete and AK-47 in the DR of the Congo show tacit approval?

Does ignoring the 250K deaths in E. Timor by Indonesian security forces by shooting and starvation show tacit approval?

Does ignoring the 125K deaths of Tamils in Sri Lanka after their civil war show tacit approval?

Does ignoring the 600K deaths in Darfur show tacit approval?

Rwanda for god’s sake??

We intervene when it is in our interest to intervene, not because people are dying.

If we are intervening because an international norm has been violated, why isn’t ANYONE else (besides a maybe from France) hopping on board with “action”?

Syria is a hitchhiker on the side of the road wearing a hockey mask and holding a bloody chainsaw. We don’t need to pick him up. We just don’t.

You want to put our shredded reputation on the line and bust our asses to rally international condemnation and action through the UN? Great!
You want put sanctions on Russia and China and Double-Secret sanctions on Iran for supplying Syria with these weapons and enabling their use? Do it!

But I’m sorry. The explanations and rationalizations and support for “something” against “somewhere” “sometime” in Syria stinks to high heaven. I think Obama knows it, he smells it and is trying to extricate himself from it.

I think the final question is: If we do things as a nation because it is our interests to do it, then what IS the compelling interest in intervening in Syria?

This seems very murky to me. If it is this murky, perhaps there is no compelling interest. If that is the case, what the hell are we doing?

choicelady
Member

I guess I’d disagree that this administration has done these things. We have sent a very limited number of troops (300) to deal with the Congo (and wherever the Lord’s Liberation Army is present), because we must. There is NO over-riding interest for us geopolitically. It is simply a matter of humanity. We are quietly dealing with Timor, and the Tamil Tigers have been largely quiet recently – we are dealing with them, too. But via humanitarian groups I’ve worked with, it’s not militarily.

Using chemical weapons is simply the standard that cannot be tolerated. It has been an issue since WW I and mustard gas. Again – we have NO interests in Syria and in fact it is AGAINST our interests to do this since Russia objects, Iran could close the Straits of Hormuz, and it may not work out at all well if we were to strike.

It is my hope that what is REALLY going on here is that the president hopes that Congress will NOT authorize Obama to strike thereby giving him the floor upon which he can stand for moving ahead with NON military intervention. When you have the McCains pounding the table for ‘regime change’ (embodied in his amendments) there needs to be ‘protective cover’ by making Congress responsible for non-lethal actions.

If ever we had an administration that saw other nations as having sovereignty and not just as tools of our interests, it is this one. PBO has rejected every call to keep following the National Security Memo #68 written in the early days of the Cold War. That requires us to intervene in all actions we think potentially harmful to US interests. He has NOT done that. He has respected other nations’ right to determine their own fate, intervening with only UN approval or, in this case where that cannot be obtained, the support (maybe not) of Congress.

The compelling interest is humanity. CBW are the MOST despicable weapons on earth save nukes because you cannot defend against them at all. No subway bomb shelters will make it OK as London withstood the blitz. The President is correct – it is a global Red Line. Not ours.

I will be most interested in seeing what happens if we do NOT have the votes. I think that actually may be the goal. We will watch and wait and see the outcome. I do trust this president to do what is right, not what is expedient to our ‘interests’.

funksands
Member

Choice, your third paragraph is what I hope is really going on. I really do. Fingers crossed.

On another point, what does a “Global Red Line” mean if the entire globe yawns when it is crossed?

I think that yawn give the President a LOT of leverage to travel the earth shaming the hell out of Syria’s neighbors and our friends. Not to prompt them to give a thumb’s up to military strikes, but rather to prompt them to take political and humanitarian action to start fencing this mess in so it doesn’t spill into something bigger.

choicelady
Member

Global Red Line is indeed chemical weapons. That has been true since 1919. Mustard gas used against allied troops led to international conventions against their use always.

Does not mean it has to be dealt with militarily. Given the retaliation by Syrian, Iran, Russia, China – I’m NOT sure this president is willing to play that kind of brinksmanship. Could be wrong. Have been before, but I think he took it to Congress to protect his standing as a negotiator rather than a military hawk. Congress cannot call him ‘soft’ if they vote NO.

Nirek
Member

Funk, I’m with you on this. There is too much at stake. We need to deliberate, a lot. I’m against WAR! Why not ,if we have to act, covertly hit Assad himself. Save thousands of lives and kill the despot. Allow the civil war to sort itself out. Much like we did ours over 100 years ago.

Atrocities happen in WARS and we have to stay out of it. We have cut food stamps, school lunches, medicare, and so many other good things from the budget so how can we afford to get involved in a civil war?

We the people need to voice our opinions and this is a great place to do it.

funksands
Member

Nirek, its very telling that our FIRST response wasn’t: “Oh my god, Syria is so awful. We need to marshall all of their neighbors and help them establish top-flight refugee camps, doctors, translators, money, food.

50% of Jordan’s TOTAL POPULATION is now refugees.

WHAT THE F***????

This poor country is literally drowning itself trying to accommodate refugees from Israel, Iraq, and Palistine and we’re casually talking about lobbing “something” in the middle of Syria?

I know where 100% of the US attention, money and time should be spent.

choicelady
Member

There are joint powers efforts to infuse the host nations with money to sustain the refugees. They are NOT being forgotten.

AlphaBitch
Member
AlphaBitch

Hi Funk. You’ve been thinking about this. I am not as clear – guess it’s because I have “dogs in this fight” with my two kiddos from Damascus, and another student I love still there. THEY still have family and friends there as well, even though my two are here safe and sound for now. It has been a hard process for them, because until a couple of years ago, it was a good place to live. Women worked outside the home in all professions; schools were remarkable, opportunities abounded, and from what I have heard, the pistachio ice cream really really rocked it.

When I saw them over Christmas, I tried hard to get a handle on what was going on. I mean, c’mon, I’ve pretty much learned all I ever want to know about Afghanistan and Palestine. How hard could two years of learning curve be???

Well, what it boiled down to is two of the most intelligent, honest people I know – with dogs in the fight – are as confused as I am to this day. They still are. The one thing they have said is they feel SURE if action is taken, it will solidify support AROUND Assad. Good or bad, he’s their guy when they are attacked. Sort of that Georgie W. 9/11 Stockholm Syndrome thing we were under.

So while you made very, very good points – and I don’t disagree with much of what you have carefully and thoughtfully laid out (why NOT Rwanda? Congo?)-, I think I still am in that grey area of right?/wrong? deliberation.

That said, so much of Syria is Iran; and so much Iran is Israel. Follow that lead. That gives a big clue as to why.

With much respect, AB

choicelady
Member

AB – that is very helpful. You have it straight from those impacted.

Rawanda was our most egregious fail. The Congo? We DO have 300 troops there helping the local forces fight Kony. That is critically different from our historic indifference to Black Africa.

So we will see. There are more negatives for the US in striking delivery systems for CBW in Syria than in NOT. I am (written above) hoping that this is the president’s way of deflecting the ‘Obama is a coward’ Bagger meme by putting the outcomes on Congress. Then he can move forward to do what he can without them biting his butt every inch of the way.

Nirek
Member

AB, sounds to me like you have given this a lot of thought, too. If we interfere we may well get sucked into a full out WAR. Let the UN do what is necessary.

choicelady
Member

Can’t. Russia and China won’t play and have veto power.

AlphaBitch
Member
AlphaBitch

Nirek: My dear Northfield pal! I would expect no less from a Vermonter. It’s one of the reasons I would love to live there.

Unfortunately (or not), I grew up in TX. I learned how to crack a beer bottle on a table if I ever needed to “cut” anyone by the time I was 17. I thought I WAS Davy Crockett. I realize that war is part of life, like death. Horrid but inescapable on occasions.

I hate war, and I cry and pray for the loss of ALL innocent lives. Who will act for those children? I love the idea of the UN, but the practicality is that they are pretty damn inefficient.

Oh, and I SO love how “they ignore resolutions” or “Russia and China won’t cooperate” is such a meme if we want them to obey the law, yet we turn blind eyes when Israel disobeys OPENLY and FLAGRANTLY so many UN resolutions that I have lost count.

Fair is fair.

Enjoy the fall. I live in jealousy.

funksands
Member

AB, I think you’ve crystallized many of the reasons why this is such a murky issue.

What is not a gray area is that horrible things are happening to Syrians. It needs to stop.

I can definitely see why you are torn on this issue though.

With even MORE respect, FS

AlphaBitch
Member
AlphaBitch

Oh yeah Funk = and the OTHER (and perhaps even greater) reason for “Why Syria?” “Why now?” is the too-much-like-high-school-tug-of-war-over-Snowden. Putin’s “team” vs. Obama’s “team”. It’s deja Afghanistan with Russia vs. the U.S. God spare us that again. Like Kes’ mom says “Let’s you and him fight.” But let’s leave others out of it. They act – in Stephanie Miller’s words about something entirely different – like high school girls. “I hate you, you rat bastards and your ass face.” “Just wait till you see what I put on Facebook now. Just wait till you see what is on Instagram.”

I really do think the Snowden proxy war is part of this. Do you?

funksands
Member

AB, if it is then we are all lost. I REALLY struggle with imagining that the President is sticking his hands into a basket of cobras over Greenwald’s pet.

But it certainly isn’t helping the diplomatic conversation between the US and Russia over weightier issues.

Kalima
Admin

Take note of where these missiles were all made, and it becomes clearer why Russia and China continue to veto any action in Syria or for that matter, Iran. It would be bad for business.

Syria has an arsenal of 100,000 missiles, and some are still accusing the rebels who have none, for launching a chemical attack on Damascus.

—-

Graphic: Nuclear, Chemical, Biological, Conventional — Syria has a missile for that

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/12/14/nuclear-chemical-biological-conventional-syria-has-a-missile-for-that/

AlphaBitch
Member
AlphaBitch

Hi Kalima – wow, good call on that research!!! I can’t believe it. Amazing – and I only looked at the graphic. Pretty “enlightening”. But I have to say the U.S. is often guilty of the same. When Blov was in Palestine (Gaza), he saw a missle that had struck a huge hole into a chapel on the grounds of a hospital. At the bottom of the hole was the missile with the LARGE WORDS “Made in Ft. Worth Texas United States”. Small wonder there are some hard feelings…..

We have a photo to prove it.

choicelady
Member

Well we can now see we are no longer the biggest or worst purveyor of arms. Progress? Do not think so.

Kalima
Admin

McPain is sooo committed, he does this.

—-

McCain played phone game in Senate

US Senator John McCain admits playing a game on his iPhone during a congressional hearing on Syria, after being “busted” by the Washington Post.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23958312

choicelady
Member

…and then he added two amendments (non binding but still) calling for ‘regime change’. Ever and always the Baggers’ Boy.

Kalima
Admin

Johnny boy loves war as long as he and his are not fighting in it. All those years as a POW taught him absolutely nothing. Shame on him and his ilk.

kesmarn
Admin

If he had any integrity, he’d return every penny he’s made since the day that game was installed on his phone. I’m sure today was not the first time he’s done this.

Kalima
Admin

Seems like Grumps only likes the sound of his own voice, what everyone else thinks is not as important as his game. If he had any integrity, he would retire.

Maverick my left kneecap. Grumpy old know-nothing-much would be more on target

kesmarn
Admin

For those who missed it yesterday, here’s a five minute segment of the Senate hearings yesterday — starring “Rant” Paul and his unwilling mentor John Kerry. (Let me say that although this segment is 5 minutes long, Rant had been going on for over 5 minutes prior to the beginning of this segment — speechifying and trying to goad Kerry into a fight.)

Kalima
Admin

Thanks for this kes, I missed it. It was worth waiting for as I could hear the “smack” from Kerry’s smack-down, all the way over this side of the Pacific. LOL, what a blathering idiot.

kesmarn
Admin

Isn’t he? For some reason, he annoys me more than most of them, with the possible exception of Palin and Bachmann whose voices drive me right up the wall. They’re just so amazingly arrogant. With so very little to be arrogant about!

Kalima
Admin

He annoys me too kes because he makes no sense and is so misinformed while making all the noise. If you are going to debate the SoS, at least make sure that you know what the hell you are talking about and research the issue fully before opening that mouth. He talks a lot and says very little. It’s like waiting for grass to grow knowing you could have been doing something much more interesting. Rant Paul is ignorant and extremely boring.

Then again, just look who his father is, and imagine being brought up to hate government, hate paying taxes, hate minorities and hear about a “revolution” every day. Couldn’t have been all that healthy for the mind. Not that it gives him a free pass, but it certainly didn’t help.

kesmarn
Admin

Absolutely, Kalima. And he acts like a person who spent his entire childhood being coddled and petted like a Young Prince. Always told how cute and bright he was, when the truth was quite the opposite. A little more exposure to the real world would have benefited him enormously.

Kalima
Admin

That family and those who think like them, give me the creeps. You can’t reason with closed minds and people who think that their way is the only way. He’s made a fool of himself many times before and many more people realise that he’s a loon, and his rambling didn’t make a dent in Kerry’s argument, so let the idiot waffle on. Sooner or later people will tire of him I’m sure.

The Japanese word for spoiled rich kid is “Obuchan”, and yes, he strikes me as being one of those.

AlphaBitch
Member
AlphaBitch

(Stalling going to work)…

Maybe we should form a League of Pussies for the Arabs who encourage US to get involved, yet want to do nada zip doo dah themselves???

I wish we could set up a foster children situation to take the children (maybe the moms too) and let them come here for foster care until this damn thing is over. I have a feeling children under five and most women had little to do with this whole civil war thing. I’d take a couple! They say Syrians are leaving at the rate of 5000/day??? Is that right???

kesmarn
Admin

I’ll take one too, Frennie!

Latest numbers I heard were that there are 1,000,000 refugee children from Syria. Lebanon now has 700,000 Syrian refugees seeking shelter. Poor Lebanon! A lot of our Muslim friends here are from there and they are the most generous, hospitable people. But how far can hospitality be strained?

Anyone heard of a charity that has been set up to aid Syrian refugees?

Kalima
Admin
kesmarn
Admin

Thank you so much, Kalima!

Kalima
Admin

You’re welcome kes. At least with the UN you know that they are there and working hands on.

AlphaBitch
Member
AlphaBitch

I will ask my Syrian children. Right now, we are trying to find a host family for three months for a young man of Palestinian heritage who grew up in a refugee camp in Syria. He is a student at college; and rather than sending him home to the refugee camp in Syria (not a good idea right now, huh?), they are trying to find him a home from May-August. have to dash to send his info off to friends who may help.

I have a “son” from Ankara coming on 10/4! SO excited. will send you photos, Frennie. A new “baby”. He has his Masters and is here for one month on an internship. Hooray!

kesmarn
Admin

Frennie. I know I’ve said it before, but those chirrun are incredibly lucky to have you in their lives.

Lookin’ forward to the pics!

Nirek
Member

Ad, did you hear Rubio? He seems to want us involved more . He wants boots on the ground!
I disagree.

Kalima
Admin

That is so typical from the GOP, Nirek. The only boots on the ground should be those of Arab nations, and they either don’t have the capability to strike, or they have no balls to get involved. They however seem to have no qualms about telling the international community and the UN to get involved.