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Dave Lane
02-13-2012, 10:48 AM
Obama must do something tangible for Syria

Editorís Note: Danielle Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington, DC. Before joining AEI, she served for ten years as a senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Danielle Pletka.
By Danielle Pletka Ė Special to CNN

Obama administration officials have labeled the United Nationsí failure to act on Syria as ďoutrageousĒ and a ďtravestyĒ. But thatís about all theyíve done about Syrian dictator Basher el Assadís wanton murder of thousands of innocent Syrians.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the failure of last weekendís weak Security Council resolution, more than 400 Syrians were killed in ruthless assaults. They had nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Syrian opposition leaders have begged the international community to act, to do more than convene in contact groups and make rounds on the diplomatic circuit. But their begging has fallen on deaf ears.

Why care about Syria?

Letís again rehearse the simple reasons:
- Syria is the soft underbelly of Iran, Tehranís most important ally, conduit for arms and cash to terrorists.
- Syria has been home to and sponsor of terrorists that have killed American soldiers and non-combatants in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Israel, in the West Bank and more.
- Syria was likely behind the murder of the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, an act for which it has paid no price
- Syria has been the godfather to Iranís terrorist creature, Hezbollah, which has degraded and exploited the Lebanese state (among many other sins).
-Syriaís despotic government has murdered thousands of its own people and will continue to do so until Bashar al-Assad has secured once again his dominion over the Syrian people.

A unique confluence of American moral purpose and Americaís strategic interest argue for intervention in Syria. Itís time to do something tangible.
Itís time to start arming the Free Syrian Army, convening the disparate factions of the Syrian opposition and coaching them toward an interim government. Itís time to create safe zones along the border with Turkey and humanitarian corridors to get there. Itís time to protect those corridors from the air with a limited no-fly zone and establish safe cities. And itís time to do all that without benefit of a Security Council resolution, because letís admit it, the Security Councilís moral authority is nil with Russia and China in permanent seats.

Itís time to begin to work with Turkey and coax the Islamist Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan into a position as moral leader in his region. He may be taking Turkey down a dangerous path, but at the moment, heís willing to do the right thing on Syria. Letís double down on that.

Itís in the U.S. interest; itís also in Israelís interest, and worth their while to arrange themselves on the side of Turkey and the Arab League against the loathsome al-Assad. That doesnít mean coming out publicly and intervening in Arab affairs, but it does mean beginning to have quiet talks behind the scenes with interested parties. Indeed, it is fascinating that Israel, which has found itself in weird concert with the Arabs on Libya, Iran and Syria, has failed to exploit that position to improve its regional relations in any way. One might almost think Israel an indifferent observer to ouster of al-Assad, a sworn enemy.

Syria will have a post-Assad future. That future could be in the hands of Qatari backed Salafis, Saudi-backed Islamists, or the Western world could have a say. Sitting on the sidelines will ensure that we have as little as possible.

Here is what President Barack Obama said about Libya in May of last year:
ďTo brush aside America's responsibility as a leader and Ė more profoundly Ė our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action."

How does Syria not meet that standard? For shame on Obama for his hypocrisy, his indifference, and his abdication of American moral and strategic leadership.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Danielle Pletka.

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/08/obama-must-do-something-tangible-for-syria/?hpt=wo_r1

Dave Lane
02-13-2012, 10:50 AM
So what say you conservatives? Action or no action? You are made president for 5 minutes. Its your call.

Direckshun
02-13-2012, 10:53 AM
Hard to figure out what the US actually can do shy of another occupation.

That's why you're going to see a lot of people taking potshots at the President over Syria, while offering zero ideas as to what the US should do.

Which is exactly what Pletka is doing here. Complaining without offering ideas.

Because when it comes to helping the Syrian people, there really aren't any.

Saul Good
02-13-2012, 10:57 AM
I don't do a thing. Sucks for them, but this one isn't our problem.

BucEyedPea
02-13-2012, 11:00 AM
So what say you conservatives? Action or no action? You are made president for 5 minutes. Its your call.

I say if we were NOT in there instigating these guys to attack and overthrow their govt then we wouldn't even be having this conversation. This is a CIA, M-16, and Mossad covert action. Assad actually had support in that country as a secular regime and he treated Syrian Jews well.

So, of course, I don't think we should put our troops in there now. The whole idea was to bring it to this point, and then claim humanitarian reasons because that govt was killing it's people. What a load of BS. The left buys it because it's their guy in power but it's the same game—Clean Break strategy to remake the entire ME. Iran is just last on the list.

Saul Good
02-13-2012, 11:02 AM
Hard to figure out what the US actually can do shy of another occupation.

That's why you're going to see a lot of people taking potshots at the President over Syria, while offering zero ideas as to what the US should do.

Which is exactly what Pletka is doing here. Complaining without offering ideas.

Because when it comes to helping the Syrian people, there really aren't any.

That's not what Pletka is doing. The criticism of Obama stems from his statements that the US can't sit idly by as people get slaughtered. Meanwhile, people are getting slaughtered, and here we sit.

The sad truth is that we CAN and WILL sit idly by while people get slaughtered. It's not Pletka's fault that Obama painted the US into a corner.

Dave Lane
02-13-2012, 11:02 AM
I might try to strong arm the Russian to stop cock blocking the UN but other than that not sure what useful Obama could do. Interesting Conservatives taking shots at him for not acting.

patteeu
02-13-2012, 11:05 AM
So what say you conservatives? Action or no action? You are made president for 5 minutes. Its your call.

After decades of malignant order in the Middle East comprised of systemic oppression of Arab (and other Muslim) people at the hands of dictators and a constant state of non-peace against Israel, George W. Bush set the table in the middle east for a much needed radical transformation. It falls to Barack Obama to take advantage of that situation and see to it that the transformation results in an improvement. So far his track record isn't very good, IMO. Now is the time to force an end the Assad regime, and put some of the final nails in the coffin of Iran and her regionwide proxy army.

BucEyedPea
02-13-2012, 11:05 AM
That's why you're going to see a lot of people taking potshots at the President over Syria, while offering zero ideas as to what the US should do.


The constant refrain by the left is that the govt should "do" things. If someone doesn't suggest action for an activist ( busy-body ) govt it means they have "zero" ideas. The best govt is the one that does the least to some. So advocating doing nothing is an idea. Particularly since all govt action has unintended consequences. You don't know what going in there could bring. That's a good enough idea for me.

BucEyedPea
02-13-2012, 11:06 AM
I might try to strong arm the Russian to stop cock blocking the UN but other than that not sure what useful Obama could do. Interesting Conservatives taking shots at him for not acting.

Why not, it's consistent with their philosophy? Obama is a pesky interventionist warmonger too. Only he covers it with humanitarian rhetoric to appeal to his base. The right uses the rhetoric of threats, national security and our "interests" to appeal to their base, even though it's a lie. Same coin, different side.

Why do you think paleo-cons and libertarians say the NeoCons are actually left-wing hawks. Precisely because of this position you take here. That we should intervene militarily.

patteeu
02-13-2012, 11:06 AM
Hard to figure out what the US actually can do shy of another occupation.

That's why you're going to see a lot of people taking potshots at the President over Syria, while offering zero ideas as to what the US should do.

Which is exactly what Pletka is doing here. Complaining without offering ideas.

Because when it comes to helping the Syrian people, there really aren't any.

:facepalm: Did you even read the article?

patteeu
02-13-2012, 11:07 AM
I say if we were NOT in there instigating these guys to attack and overthrow their govt then we wouldn't even be having this conversation. This is a CIA, M-16, and Mossad covert action. Assad actually had support in that country as a secular regime and he treated Syrian Jews well.

So, of course, I don't think we should put our troops in there now. The whole idea was to bring it to this point, and then claim humanitarian reasons because that govt was killing it's people. What a load of BS. The left buys it because it's their guy in power but it's the same gameóClean Break strategy to remake the entire ME. Iran is just last on the list.

And the most important.

BucEyedPea
02-13-2012, 11:08 AM
After decades of malignant order in the Middle East comprised of systemic oppression of Arab (and other Muslim) people at the hands of dictators and a constant state of non-peace against Israel, George W. Bush set the table in the middle east for a much needed radical transformation. It falls to Barack Obama to take advantage of that situation and see to it that the transformation results in an improvement. So far his track record isn't very good, IMO. Now is the time to force an end the Assad regime, and put some of the final nails in the coffin of Iran and her regionwide proxy army.

How Progressively Left Wing of you, my dear. :evil:

patteeu
02-13-2012, 11:09 AM
How Progressively Left Wing of you, my dear. :evil:

Your statements like this are meaningless.

KC native
02-13-2012, 11:12 AM
After decades of malignant order in the Middle East comprised of systemic oppression of Arab (and other Muslim) people at the hands of dictators and a constant state of non-peace against Israel, George W. Bush set the table in the middle east for a much needed radical transformation. It falls to Barack Obama to take advantage of that situation and see to it that the transformation results in an improvement. So far his track record isn't very good, IMO. Now is the time to force an end the Assad regime, and put some of the final nails in the coffin of Iran and her regionwide proxy army.

ROFL @ bush being responsible for what's happening in the middle east. Twitter and facebook have much more to do with it than shrub's misguided foray into iraq.

HonestChieffan
02-13-2012, 11:22 AM
Let the islamists have it. They will eventually kill each other and we will be rid of them. Arm both sides and set up cheering sections. Cut off all money.

BucEyedPea
02-13-2012, 11:33 AM
Let the islamists have it. They will eventually kill each other and we will be rid of them. Arm both sides and set up cheering sections. Cut off all money.

That's who we'd be helping if we did go in....in order to replace a secular govt.

HonestChieffan
02-13-2012, 11:36 AM
with any luck the Iranians will blow themselves to hell

jiveturkey
02-13-2012, 11:37 AM
Not doing something in Egypt = bad
Doing something in Libya = bad
Not doing something in Syria = bad

Let the Russian's deal with this one. They're slowly pissing off a ton of people that are willing to blow themselves up, which will lead to them taking some of the pressure off of us in the GWoT.

patteeu
02-13-2012, 11:39 AM
Not doing something in Egypt = bad
Doing something in Libya = bad
Not doing something in Syria = bad

Let the Russian's deal with this one. They're slowly pissing off a ton of people that are willing to blow themselves up, which will lead to them taking some of the pressure off of us in the GWoT.

Obama did do something in Egypt. He threw a friendly regime overboard. You got the "= bad" part right though.

Direckshun
02-13-2012, 11:53 AM
After decades of malignant order in the Middle East comprised of systemic oppression of Arab (and other Muslim) people at the hands of dictators and a constant state of non-peace against Israel, George W. Bush set the table in the middle east for a much needed radical transformation. It falls to Barack Obama to take advantage of that situation and see to it that the transformation results in an improvement. So far his track record isn't very good, IMO. Now is the time to force an end the Assad regime, and put some of the final nails in the coffin of Iran and her regionwide proxy army.

Half the time, I'm convinced you're campaigning for a PR job.

There is really no difference between this and the B-roll crap Sarah Palin shits out.

Direckshun
02-13-2012, 11:55 AM
:facepalm: Did you even read the article?

I did.

We should "pressure Turkey," which is so vague as to leave her wiggle room for criticism should we actually do anything to actually pressure Turkey. Who hates us so much they weren't willing to help us with Iraq.

But yeah, I'm sure they'll hop aboard the pain train with Syria.

What do we do, Pat? None of your preferred authors are offering shit for solutions.

Put your nuts on the table.

alnorth
02-13-2012, 12:06 PM
Obama did do something in Egypt. He threw a friendly regime overboard. You got the "= bad" part right though.

he did nothing. Words do not count as doing something, and I don't understand what you expect us to do, roll into Egypt and shoot up the protestors?

If the people want their dictator gone, we can't save him, nor should we.

patteeu
02-13-2012, 12:15 PM
I did.

We should "pressure Turkey," which is so vague as to leave her wiggle room for criticism should we actually do anything to actually pressure Turkey. Who hates us so much they weren't willing to help us with Iraq.

But yeah, I'm sure they'll hop aboard the pain train with Syria.

What do we do, Pat? None of your preferred authors are offering shit for solutions.

Put your nuts on the table.

She also said we should arm the Syrian opposition.

I don't know how anyone on the outside is supposed to provide a detailed plan on how to force regime change in Syria without access to all of our best intelligence and knowledge of our specific capabilities, but that doesn't mean we can't hold the guy who does have that knowledge accountable for the results. Anything short of breaking apart the unholy alliance between Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah will be failure. Most likely, that requires regime change in Damascus and an armed opposition to the Hesbollah militia at a minimum. We also have to be willing to deal with Iran's response, whatever that might be.

patteeu
02-13-2012, 12:18 PM
he did nothing. Words do not count as doing something, and I don't understand what you expect us to do, roll into Egypt and shoot up the protestors?

If the people want their dictator gone, we can't save him, nor should we.

The people have wanted their dictator gone for a long time. The military disagreed so he stayed. That all changed when Barack Obama withdrew American support for Mubarak. You might not think words matter, but they do.

KC native
02-13-2012, 12:28 PM
Obama did do something in Egypt. He threw a friendly regime overboard. You got the "= bad" part right though.

You're a riot today. ROFL exactly how did Obama throw a friendly Egyptian regime overboard?

patteeu
02-13-2012, 12:36 PM
You're a riot today. ROFL exactly how did Obama throw a friendly Egyptian regime overboard?

Weren't you paying attention? He announced to the world that he was on the side of the Egyptian rebellion as opposed to our longtime ally, Mubarak.

KC native
02-13-2012, 12:39 PM
Weren't you paying attention? He announced to the world that he was on the side of the Egyptian rebellion as opposed to our longtime ally, Mubarak.

Seriously? Obama's words on the subject would have changed nothing either way. If he had supported muburak, he still would have been deposed.

Direckshun
02-13-2012, 12:40 PM
She also said we should arm the Syrian opposition.

I don't know how anyone on the outside is supposed to provide a detailed plan on how to force regime change in Syria without access to all of our best intelligence and knowledge of our specific capabilities, but that doesn't mean we can't hold the guy who does have that knowledge accountable for the results. Anything short of breaking apart the unholy alliance between Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah will be failure. Most likely, that requires regime change in Damascus and an armed opposition to the Hesbollah militia at a minimum. We also have to be willing to deal with Iran's response, whatever that might be.

Arming the resistance will make no difference.

I'm not directly opposed to it, but even the best estimates of the Syrian resistance are at 40,000, which are divided up into several leaderless factions. And it's probably much, much fewer people. That all have to arm themselves by sneaking across the border and sneaking back in.

Meanwhile, Assad has 200,000 men at his disposal and a steady supply of heavy artillery from Russia.

An armed rebellion has no chance. They are outgunned and outnumbered 10 to 1.

The Syrian people will either have to somehow earn their regime change through an Egyptian-like peaceful revolution, or they will need a foreign power to invade and take out Assad.

Just face it: there is next to nothing Obama could do with Syria that would satisfy you. You'll just move the goalposts again. Like you always do.

Donger
02-13-2012, 12:41 PM
We should do nothing.

patteeu
02-13-2012, 12:46 PM
Arming the resistance will make no difference.

I'm not directly opposed to it, but even the best estimates of the Syrian resistance are at 40,000, which are divided up into several leaderless factions. And it's probably much, much fewer people. That all have to arm themselves by sneaking across the border and sneaking back in.

Meanwhile, Assad has 200,000 men at his disposal and a steady supply of heavy artillery from Russia.

An armed rebellion has no chance. They are outgunned and outnumbered 10 to 1.

The Syrian people will either have to somehow earn their regime change through an Egyptian-like peaceful revolution, or they will need a foreign power to invade and take out Assad.

Just face it: there is next to nothing Obama could do with Syria that would satisfy you. You'll just move the goalposts again. Like you always do.

Nothing can stop the Syrian people from forcing Assad out if they want him out. Not the heavy hand of a tyrant. Not the overwhelming strength of his military. Not the support (or lack thereof) of a benefactor nation. Ask KC Native.

FishingRod
02-13-2012, 12:54 PM
Sometimes the Devil you know is better than what you end up with. There is more than fair chance that the overall pain in our ass factor will be higher in the long run in Libya, Egypt and possibly Iraq that if their respective dictators had reminded in power. Only time will tell but, I seriously doubt putting our people in harm’s way in Syria will Earn us a new found love from their people.

vailpass
02-13-2012, 12:56 PM
could we launch a nuke from Syria into Iran? That would seem to be something tangible to do to Syria.

Direckshun
02-13-2012, 01:09 PM
Nothing can stop the Syrian people from forcing Assad out if they want him out. Not the heavy hand of a tyrant. Not the overwhelming strength of his military. Not the support (or lack thereof) of a benefactor nation. Ask KC Native.

You're boring the shit out of me with this empty rhetoric.

A few things could stop them, like fear of deathor torture at the hands of one's self and one's family. Or the needs to be able to sustain one's entire family, which is typically not marching out to the streets of Hama to get shelled by heavy artillery.

So, yeah, things can stop the Syrian opposition from forcing Assad out.

BucEyedPea
02-13-2012, 01:16 PM
could we launch a nuke from Syria into Iran? That would seem to be something tangible to do to Syria.

I think the plan is to take Syria down in order to have a port into Iraq and over to Iran. AQ is the enemy of Iran.

Direckshun
02-13-2012, 01:25 PM
could we launch a nuke from Syria into Iran? That would seem to be something tangible to do to Syria.

We're not hurting for that kind of real estate.

http://campaigniran.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/usbases1.jpg

patteeu
02-13-2012, 01:36 PM
You're boring the shit out of me with this empty rhetoric.

A few things could stop them, like fear of deathor torture at the hands of one's self and one's family. Or the needs to be able to sustain one's entire family, which is typically not marching out to the streets of Hama to get shelled by heavy artillery.

So, yeah, things can stop the Syrian opposition from forcing Assad out.

Nope, not possible. KC Native told me so.

Of course, that's just TIC because I know KC Native is FOS. No, the Syrian people will need our help to push Assad aside. And we should find a way to help them either covertly or overtly. Obama has had some successes in the war against al Qaeda's leadership (treating a symptom of our problems in the region), but I'm still waiting for him to do something more fundamentally constructive in the Middle East.

Otter
02-13-2012, 01:36 PM
I'd start letting the middle east slaughter each other like they've been trying to for 100's of years then dominate the winner. Let them have at it already.

Direckshun
02-13-2012, 01:42 PM
Nope, not possible. KC Native told me so.

Of course, that's just TIC because I know KC Native is FOS. No, the Syrian people will need our help to push Assad aside. And we should find a way to help them either covertly or overtly. Obama has had some successes in the war against al Qaeda's leadership (treating a symptom of our problems in the region), but I'm still waiting for him to do something more fundamentally constructive in the Middle East.

I missed the sarcasm. My bad.

Since there's nothing really of substance going on in this thread otherwise, I'd like you to entertain my curiousity: what fundamentally constructive blueprint were you hoping the President would follow?

patteeu
02-13-2012, 01:48 PM
I missed the sarcasm. My bad.

Since there's nothing really of substance going on in this thread otherwise, I'd like you to entertain my curiousity: what fundamentally constructive blueprint were you hoping the President would follow?

The primary goal ought to be regime change in Iran and a breakup of the Iran/Syria/Hezbollah axis. The next step ought to be encouraging ongoing liberalization of the friendly Arab regimes in the area. The third step would be taking advantage of this new context to encourage a sustainable two state peace between Israel and the palestinians who occupy the so-called occupied territories.

I certainly don't expect Obama to be able to accomplish all of that in his remaining time in office. He can't short circuit the process and hope to jump to step 3 without laying the groundwork though, which is what he seems to be trying to do.

HonestChieffan
02-13-2012, 01:51 PM
I'd start letting the middle east slaughter each other like they've been trying to for 100's of years then dominate the winner. Let them have at it already.


exactly

vailpass
02-13-2012, 01:56 PM
I'd start letting the middle east slaughter each other like they've been trying to for 100's of years then dominate the winner. Let them have at it already.

This is the best-case scenario. Let the animals be animals. Troublesome though when the animals get nukes.

Radar Chief
02-13-2012, 02:09 PM
I'd start letting the middle east slaughter each other like they've been trying to for 100's of years then dominate the winner. Let them have at it already.

You know what the business community thinks of you? They think that a hundred years ago you were living in tents out here in the desert chopping each other's heads off and that's where you'll be in another hundred years, so, yes, on behalf of my firm I accept your money. /Bryan Woodman

KC native
02-13-2012, 02:11 PM
Nope, not possible. KC Native told me so.

Of course, that's just TIC because I know KC Native is FOS. No, the Syrian people will need our help to push Assad aside. And we should find a way to help them either covertly or overtly. Obama has had some successes in the war against al Qaeda's leadership (treating a symptom of our problems in the region), but I'm still waiting for him to do something more fundamentally constructive in the Middle East.

Apples and oranges, although it's not surprising that you're back to your mental gymnastics. Egypt isn't syria. Do you honestly think that mubarak would still be in power if Obama had said he supported him?

Do you think that mubarak and assad are similar rulers (focus on actions, not definitions)?

LiveSteam
02-13-2012, 04:14 PM
I dnt need 5 minutes. I think I can push all the cool big red buttons in-under 60 seconds.

http://www.studionemo.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/14a2ae416f2dccc6117b2cebde161fc660c9ca4e_m.jpg

Amnorix
02-13-2012, 04:20 PM
but I'm still waiting for him to do something more fundamentally constructive in the Middle East.


Which country should he invade to accomplish that, do you think?













:p

redsurfer11
02-13-2012, 04:55 PM
So what say you conservatives? Action or no action? You are made president for 5 minutes. Its your call.


What would George Bush do?

WoodDraw
02-13-2012, 04:58 PM
These situations always allow a lot of people to say things without needing to be responsible. By most accounts, the Syrian opposition is unorganized, which makes it hard to support them. I think it's a mistake to assume the US, and the UK and France, right now aren't doing anything.

But Syria is different than Libya, for so many reasons. Geographical location, local politics, Hezbollah, everything. You're never going to have a Western presence there because you're welcoming an insurgency. What would I do? Try to get Russia to step back from their support. Syria is an ally for them though, and a base for their Middle East influence. But you have to think that if they see an inevitable fall, they'd rather jump ship than standby Assad.

It's an issue that the Arab League needs to make progress on. It's too poisonous for other countries to take much of a lead role. There might be a time for them to ask for help, but I don't see UN peacekeepers as much of a solution. Right now I think you unfortunately watch the civil war unfold and give as much support as you can to the opposition, assuming you trust them enough...

redsurfer11
02-13-2012, 05:01 PM
The United Nations will move if we back this. Nobody wants to get involved.

THERE IS NO OIL IN SYRIA...

BigMeatballDave
02-13-2012, 05:07 PM
I don't do a thing. Sucks for them, but this one isn't our problem.

This.

We need to keep out of other nation's affairs.

WoodDraw
02-13-2012, 05:08 PM
The United Nations will move if we back this. Nobody wants to get involved.

THERE IS NO OIL IN SYRIA...

The UNSC already tried to get involved...and it was vetoed by Russia and China. Russia has a naval base in Syria and has a close military relationship with them.

patteeu
02-13-2012, 06:29 PM
Apples and oranges, although it's not surprising that you're back to your mental gymnastics. Egypt isn't syria. Do you honestly think that mubarak would still be in power if Obama had said he supported him?

Do you think that mubarak and assad are similar rulers (focus on actions, not definitions)?

I think the Egyptian military was every bit as capable as the Syrian military is of keeping it's guy in power. But when the US turned against Mubarak, the military had to choose between him and the hand that feeds them several $billion per year.