Bort I've never seen a Resubmit get voted up so quickly; remind me to put "Sex Tape" in all my video descriptions.
Old_Zircon This is pretty good but the watermark kind of ruins the twist.
EvilHomer Uh oh! Those Arabs crossed Obama's "Red Line"! Now they've done it. Now they're going to see what happens when you piss off the Innocent President of Peace.
Bort And those 1400 civilians, well, they just had a bad day, no need to give them a second thought.
I can understand people being in favor of military action, and I can understand people being opposed. (Personally I'm opposed because I don't see that we can deter Assad with the threat of violence if he's already in the throes of a civil war.) But let's not pretend this is a simple matter with a single, obvious, clear-cut solution.
EvilHomer You're totally right about those civilians, Bort. And I agree that it's a complicated issue with no obvious solution.
But the same could have been said, and WAS said, about Iraq. Saddam killed a lot more of his people than the Assad did, and, unlike Syria, Iraq was facing no internal threat that stood a serious chance of toppling the regime without direct military intervention on the part of the World's Policeman. Yet the very same influential individuals who argued AGAINST American military intervention when a Republican was in power, are now the ones loudly crying out in favor of war, using the same exact arguments they were belittling clear up to 2008. (I'm referring here to policy wonks on "the left", such as the Democratic Party, Hollywood, and the five US media conglomerates that are not NewsCorp, not any of you guys. The poe community is, as always, mostly rational, skeptical, and level-headed)
Look, let's say for the sake of argument, that Mitt Romney had actually won that last election, and he was the guy now posturing and threatening and brandishing his Peace Prize like a +1 Mace of Holiness. Do you really think Funny or Die, a viral video company owned by Will Ferrel and backed by industry-connected venture capital, would have gotten together with Alyssa Milano to make a (very amusing!) video extolling the virtues of unprovoked war? No, of course not. And do you think ANYONE, on the right or the left, will look at the way they're acting now - conservatives crying false flag or, I shit you not, liberals claiming that "Saddam's missing WMDs" are now in Syria - and reflect on the values they *think* they hold, and on their behavior over the last dozen years? Not a chance. And that's what pisses me off the most here.
The plain fact of the matter is, if Syria is justified, Iraq was justified. If Iraq was unjustified, Syria is unjustified. Is a little consistency too much to ask?
We are at war with Eurasia. Were we always at war with Eurasia?
Bort "But the same could have been said, and WAS said, about Iraq."
Oh come on. In 2002 and 2003, Saddam had no WMDs, was not using WMDs, and even a huge amount of intelligence said that he had no WMDs. That is pretty much diametrically opposed to the current situation, where (according to a number of sources, including nations that don't want to get involved) Assad DOES have WMDs, HAS used them, and may well use them again.
"The plain fact of the matter is, if Syria is justified, Iraq was justified."
Uh ... no. That's not how it works. That's not how it works AT ALL. Those are two very different situations with almost nothing in common.
And as for this ...
"video extolling the virtues of unprovoked war"
... show me at what point they're stumping for war. The video is not doing anything of the sort.
Until this video came along, did you understand what was at the heart of the Syrian civil war? Did you know that the rulers were Allawites while the population was Sunni? Why didn't you know this? Why did you have to learn it from a celebrity sex tape, and not, say, the news? THAT is the point of the video, and I'm surprised at how many people have trouble getting that.
Those are two very different situations with almost nothing in common.
So what DON'T they have in common? They're both tiny Middle Eastern countries which pose no direct threat to the United States. They both "have" WMDs, and they were both known to have used them on civilians in the past. They were both largely secular regimes in a region awash in radical religious politics. Both countries had an oppressed religious majority, which in both instances has been a major talking-point for the pro-war crowd. And they're both critically important to the oil industry. Cough cough.
The only real differences I can think of are:
. We haven't really tried any serious soft-touch approaches on Syria yet, unlike Iraq, which we dealt with for years through non-military, non-violent means.
. Assuming the evidence stands up to scrutiny, Syria has used it's WMDs much more recently, and one could argue that they must still possess WMDs; unlike Iraq, which insisted it had disbanded it's WMD program years prior to the invasion. I will concede that this is a point in Obama's favor. (bonus points if they really do turn out to be Iraq's missing WMDs! Then he's won TWO wars for the price of one!)
. And as stated by both of us, Syria is already in the grips of it's own civil war. We don't HAVE to invade Syria if Syria can handle it's own problems, right? Unlike Iraq, which would have never lost Saddam without a US backed military intervention.
All in all, I'd say that the handful of differences here only make it HARDER to justify Syria. So perhaps I was wrong; perhaps I should have said, if Syria is justified, Iraq was justified. But if Syria is unjustified, then Iraq may or may not have been justified anyway.
Why did you have to learn it from a celebrity sex tape, and not, say, the news? THAT is the point of the video
...so extolling the virtues of unprovoked war, just as I said.
On the surface, yes, it is an amusing video which tricks us into learning about current events and makes a funny point about our priorities. That's why I five starred it, because it is rather clever and it is rather fun to watch. But the producers want us to know these things for a reason: they want us to view the upcoming war in a sympathetic light. Ms Milano could have just as easily thrown on a clip of Noam Chomsky (or, more likely, Kanye West) discussing US imperialism in the Middle East and how Euro-American industrial interest has colored all the conflicts in that region since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
Or maybe she could have put on a news clip wherein the trustworthy expert tells us that the gassings which killed 1400 civilians last month *were not the first gassings to take place in that country.* Nor were they the first gassings that US policy makers tried to leverage! But the WMD attacks that took place in March were most likely perpetrated by THE REBELS, i.e. the good guys, and that simply doesn't fit into the narrative we need. Why don't we know this? Why do we have do have to learn this from a bitter pony-loving nerd on poeTV, and not, say, Alyssa Milano and her friends at Sequioa Capital?
If using WMDs to murder civilians is cause enough to claim the moral high-ground and send in Team America, then admitting that our allies probably gassed civilians first would require us to think up all sorts of qualifications for our argument so it could still support our goal. And that would just be way too much effort this late in the game.
Herr Matthias Maybe I'm an idiot, but I really don't see how this is pro-intervention. I thought it was as good and objective a summary as is possible in about a minute.
Bort Exactly -- it's straight background info that any respectable news media would have given us immediately. And I'm not even sure I'd last a minute with Alyssa Milano, so we should be grateful we got what we did.
CJH bort if you can't tell that this video wants to frame these 'tactical strikes' as justified then you deserve to get styled on by the fucking brony troll account
baleen "Yet the very same influential individuals who argued AGAINST American military intervention when a Republican was in power, are now the ones loudly crying out in favor of war, using the same exact arguments they were belittling clear up to 2008."
Not quite. Bort pointed out the most obvious differences.
To my knowledge, nobody is proposing a invasive land war along the lines of Iraq, just air strikes and perhaps some tactical missions in support of (we hope) the revolutionary forces we want to win.
The problem is that as of now 2,000,000 Syrian civs have been pushed over the border and are rotting to death in abandoned buildings and makeshift refugee camps. This is not simply a "let them sort it out" situation. Remember when Kuwait dumped their entire Palestinian population in Jordan during the Gulf War? That resulted in 10,000-15,000 dead Palestinians, and this situation is an order of magnitude higher.
There's also, unfortunately, no right answer. Nothing we do will leave us inculpable. Pelosi makes comparisons to Rwanda, and I agree with her. There will be hundreds of thousands more dead if we do not act. If we play a Cold War dance with Russia, where we're both feeding weapons into the mix in the hopes that our desires are met, we're just as guilty. If we do nothing, we're just as guilty.
That is the most painful thing about this situation. It's infuriating and frustrating.
Bort Update, in case you forgot how this all got resolved: thanks to Obama making threats to take military action to curb Syria's chemical weapons, Russia (Syria's ally through the civilian massacres) stepped in to broker a peace. Syria has since let the UN come in and take away its chemical weapons. No shots fired, no further chemical weapons massacres -- about as good an ending as one could have asked for.
Some credit goes to Russia on this, but far more goes to the US, for taking chemical weapons seriously and doing something about civilian massacres.
This doesn't mean Obama is right all the time. This doesn't mean US foreign policy should be embraced without asking the tough questions. But once in a while we get it right; we did this time, and that's grounds to be happy with the outcome, rather than disappointed that there's nothing to bitch about.