A War the Pentagon Doesn’t Want?

by lizard

Dave Lindorff writes about the violent arrest of a female Iraq war vet at an anti-Syria-intervention rally. Here is the video of the arrest:

These particular agents of the police state are National Park Rangers policing the Independence Mall in Philadelphia. Here’s Lindorff describing the landscape:

Independence Mall is a three-block piece of property run by the National Park Service in Philadelphia. A favored spot for tourists from all over the nation and the world, with the restored Independence Hall at one end, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written and where the Bill of Rights was passed into law, protecting freedom of speech and assembly, and the Constitution Center at the other end, where the US Constitution and its guarantees of freedom are celebrated, it is also a favored locale for protest actions, such as the protest and march against a US attack on Syria, which took place just before Yates’ arrest.

The brutal assault on this peaceful folksinger offers a stark view of the reality of America’s burgeoning police state, set as it was against the image of the building where America’s founding documents offered the hope for such a different kind of state. The park’s rangers Saturday certainly sent many foreign tourists home with a whole different view of the “Land of the Free” not to mention the “Home of the Brave.”

Among the majority of Americans opposing this intervention are veterans who know all too well what the reality of war means. A retired major general, Robert H. Scales, articulated his perception in the Washington Post yesterday regarding why this war is a war the Pentagon doesn’t want. Here is Scales describing the general sentiment of the soldiers he has talked to:

They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense. None of the White House staff has any experience in war or understands it. So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.

The opposition to intervention is overwhelming. The polls, town hall meetings, and military personnel tasked with carrying out this intervention don’t want to do it.

What is finally being understood (I hope) is that the War on Terror declared after 9/11 is total bullshit. There is no other explanation for why our supposed dreaded enemy—Al Qaeda-affiliated jihadists—were somehow transformed in Syria to freedom-fighting rebels.

The justification for intervening in Syria has become surreal and incoherent, changing like the colors of a chameleon. I wonder what Tester thinks, being such an advocate for our veterans. Are you going to vote for war, Jon? I’m sure Max will have no problem voting yes, and it sounds like Steve Daines is a no.

We will see, next week, if overwhelming public sentiment against a US military intervention is enough to give Tester cover for a no vote.


  1. Francis Kromkowski

    Let Montana’s answer be: No US Military Intervention in Syria!

    From: Francis Kromkowski on behalf of the Helena Service for Peace and Justice –https://www.facebook.com/HelenaSERPA J . E-mail:HelenaSERPAJ@gmail.com

    Sent: Friday, August 30, 2013 To: Senator Max Baucus [ maxbaucus@earthlink.net and Baucus c/o Holly_Luck@baucus.senate.gov; ] Senator Jon Tester [c/o Bill_Lombardi@tester.senate.gov]; Representative Steve Daines[ https://daines.house.gov/email-me/ ] Cc: Bill Lombardi (Helena Office, Senator Tester); Luck, Holly (Helena Office, Senator Baucus); Friends of Helena SERPAJ Subject: Let Montana’s answer be: No US Military Intervention in Syria!

    Dear Senator Max Baucus, Senator Jon Tester [and Representative Steve Daines

    Let Montana’s answer be: No US Military Intervention in Syria!

    The Helena Service for Peace and Justice (SERPAJ) calls on President Barack Obama and on you as members of Congress to reject plans for U.S. military intervention in Syria.

    We strongly urge you as our Montana Senators and Representatives to reject any military intervention in Syria’s civil war — including any military attack, arming the rebels or creating a no-fly zone.

    We ask you and the President and the Congress, to turn away from war planning, to stop planning for entering into war in Syria — and, instead, focus on increasing humanitarian assistance through the UN, building active multilateral diplomacy without preconditions with all involved parties for an immediate ceasefire, starting a full arms embargo, and negotiations to end Syria’s civil war.

    Military attack without the prior consent of Congress and the UN Security Council would violate our own Constitution, as well as international law.

    Committing a crime as a reaction to a crime brings us and the Syrians no closer to peace or justice.

    U.S. military strikes, without UN Security Council approval as well as the approval of the U.S. Congress, will be completely illegal, regardless of any “coalition” Washington may cobble together.

    President Obama claims, without revealing any evidence, that the Syrian government is responsible and therefore military strikes are somehow called for.

    But UN weapons inspectors have not yet determined what killed the Syrian victims, nor has anyone proven who might actually be responsible. Hundreds of Syrians died in what appears to be a chemical weapons attack. Any such attack would violate a host of international laws, and is indeed what Secretary of State Kerry called a “moral obscenity.” But the UN weapons inspectors have not yet determined what killed the Syrian victims, nor has anyone proven who might actually be responsible. We stand against all chemical weapons, as well as all other weapons of mass destruction, and oppose their possession or use by anyone, including our own government. The horrific deaths in Syria must be thoroughly investigated and whoever is responsible brought to justice – in the International Criminal Court or elsewhere.

    Military strikes by the U.S. will not make any Syrians safer. It will not bring the Syrian civil war closer to an end. We must demand diplomacy and new talks to end the war, not more military attacks. You can’t put out a raging fire by pouring gasoline on one side of it. There is no military solution to the crisis in Syria, and more arms to any side mean more civilians will be killed.

    Any U.S. military intervention holds the threat of unplanned escalation, and ultimately a quagmire. It is much easier to send planes, bombs and missiles than it is to get out -– especially if a plane is shot down or a pilot captured. There is no exit strategy for Syria and even a “no-fly zone” could easily become a costly quagmire. The situation in Syria today is full-scale civil war, which denies the people of Syria their right to choose their own government and leaders. Other governments arming and financing the two sides does not restore that right, it only makes things worse.

    The U.S.-Russian initiative known as Geneva II talks should be pushed forward, involving all the relevant outside actors, especially those providing weapons and military or economic support to any side. The U.S. should stop trying to prevent Iran’s participation in the talks – any serious diplomacy requires everyone to be at the table.

    On the Syrian side, negotiations must include not only the Syrian government and the armed rebels, but organizations representing Syrian civil society including unarmed opposition forces, Syria’s minority communities, women, and youth.

    The Constitution and the War Powers Resolution say that absent an attack on the United States, Congress must approve military action before it takes place. According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the U.S. should not intervene in Syria’s sectarian civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Obama should act. Even if Assad’s forces used chemical weapons to attack civilians – an allegation which has not been proved, and didn’t hold up in the past – only 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention, while 46 percent would oppose it.

    On July 24, the House approved an amendment by voice vote that would prohibit funding of any military action that violates the War Powers Resolution. If President Obama can get us into war in Syria without Congressional approval, it will set a terrible precedent: a future president can get us into war in Iran without Congressional approval.

    Tell President Obama that he must not to take any military action in Syria without Congressional approval, and tell Congress to stand up for the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Resolution.

    Follow the wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr. “Wars are poor chisels for peaceful tomorrows. We must pursue peaceful ends by peaceful means.”

    ~ Francis Kromkowski, on behalf of the Helena Service for Peace and Justice

    https://www.facebook.com/HelenaSERPA J

    E-mail:HelenaSERPAJ@gmail.com

    _____

  2. Turner

    You guys are right.

    Though no one probably cares, I’ve changed my mind about this air strikes thing. I’m too worried about the rebels, even the so-called “moderates,” to want to assist them. I’m not sure the Syrian people would be any better off under them than under Assad.

    If we want to be humanitarians, we need to help the refugees and even offer them asylum in our country.

    And then, I suppose, impose some non-violent sanctions against Assad.

    • lizard19

      I appreciate that comment, Turner, and I do care. to acknowledge your mind has changed here, despite the disagreements we’ve had regarding my sometimes obnoxious ranting, is significant, at least to me.

      refocusing the well-intentioned supporters from military strikes to actual humanitarian aid to refugees is a great idea, including offering asylum.

      I hope cooler, saner heads prevail, because the potential of this spiraling out of control—not just in the Middles East, but also within the growing schism between military personnel and their civilian leadership—could produce some really messed up scenarios.

    • I care. I think it’s awesome you changed your mind. The Syrians are people like us and I had no idea that many were wheat farmers. Bring all the parties to the table in Geneva for a pow wow and in the meantime, yes, help the people somehow. For a start with a cease fire that will give them some room to go about their day to day lives without causing more chaos. But sanctions usually hurt the people not the regime, so I don’t see that as an answer.

  3. How about this?
    Dear Senators Tester and Baucus,
    Syrian is in years long drought. Their wheat farms have been devastated and farmers have had to retreat into towns and cities looking for work. Two years ago the people took to the street and demanded that their government spend less money on weapons and more on the people. Syria was a wheat exporter and now a wheat importer. We should be in solidarity with farmers around the world rather than looking at how we can blast them to smithereens and force them to be our servants and buy our food or be given handouts. How would we like that kind of “gift”? What goes around comes around. Give the people, not their regime, some dignity and respect.
    The American people are much slower on the uptake than the people in the Middle East and Europe to recognize that their regime in Washington like Syria or Egypt or Greece has plenty of money to spend on blowing things up but nothing to spare for education, health or old age pensions.
    But Americans are waking up.
    Vote NO because the whole lesser of two evils b.s isn’t going to cut it anymore as people look for alternatives to The War Party and new coalitions are forming.

    • lizard19

      hell yes!

      • I got the idea of calling our government “a regime” from Golem XIV. A brilliant essay on why the MSM and our “government” calls the bad guys “regimes” and the good guys “governments”. So it’s the Saudi government but the Syrian regime. Interesting. http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2013/09/syria-cui-bono/
        And, by the way, when my rancher husband found out about their drought and depleting their wells, he changed his attitude. Around here, water is everything and we are making decisions on selling cows based on that. It helped him to see a Syrian farmer as somebody like him. But he still doesn’t have any faith in our representatives to actually represent us. I don’t either. Direct democracy is needed, but not sure how to get there.

        • lizard19

          the water angle is huge and too often under-appreciated. thank you for sharing your perspective.

        • Dave Budge

          Direct democracy (DD) you say? Let me ask you some questions about the wisdom of that.

          What would be the status of Jim Crow laws with DD?

          If you believe in DD do you think that California’s’ Prop 8 is good law?

          How would DD have affected the entry into the Iraq war at the time?

          Would DD have resulted in universal health care?

          What effect would DD have had on 1st Amendment rights over the course of time?

          Would there ever have been affirmative action under DD?

          How would DD effect the environment? Would the desire for jobs/income make many environmental protections impossible?

          That’s enough for now although I could go on for days.

          I know this is a diversion from the topic at hand. Sorry for that.

          • Yes, I am new to thinking about direct democracy and this may be hopelessly optimistic. From what I can tell from reading about Iceland and Switzerland, size helps. “I know your grandmother” helps for cooperative societies. Iceland’s parliament voted to repay the bankers and bank shareholders thus putting Icelanders into huge debt for the losses of private banks. The president vetoed it. And in a national referendum, that idea was defeated with 90% voting against it. The representatives clearly had not represented the people. Now Iceland only has 300,000 people. But we did the same thing with TARP. Overwhelming majority of Americans said, “Let the banks fail.” Congress at first went along with it until the PTB including candidate O, turned them back around. Our representatives failed us. Wish we had had a national referendum on that one.

            A big problem with some of these state referendums that you refer to is the amount of money spent by those with the dough to twist these votes.
            These ideas come from reading Dimitry Orlov’s “Five Stages of Collapse.” Excerpts are at his site. http://cluborlov.blogspot.ca/
            There are alternatives to capitalism. Mutual aid, local banks, gifting societies that have existed in history. Just had a friend come back from Burning Man where no money is exchanged. Food, artwork, etc are shared. No vendors. At least we should talk about these alternatives.
            I also recommend David Graeber’s “Debt, the First 5000 Years.”

          • Dave Budge

            You have yet to answer a single one of the questions I posed.

  1. 1 Perspective, Syria and Beyond | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] the comments of the post A War the Pentagon Doesn’t Want? a portion of a comment from feralcatoffreedom pointed me to a commonality that caused her husband […]




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