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Should the U.S. take military action against Syria? (Political Debate thread)

Discussion in 'Cafe toonzone' started by wonderfly, Sep 5, 2013.

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What action should the U.S. take in regards to the ongoing war in Syria?

  1. Full military action should be taken to remove the Assad regime.

    1 vote(s)
    6.3%
  2. Limited military action should be taken to destroy Assad's chemical weapons supply or to punish him

    2 vote(s)
    12.5%
  3. The U.S. should not get involved in either side of the conflict (because both sides are bad - it sui

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. The U.S. should not get involved in either side of the conflict as we're not the police of the world

    9 vote(s)
    56.3%
  5. The U.S. should not get involved in Syria because it'll just lead to another occupation/Iraq/Afganis

    1 vote(s)
    6.3%
  6. The U.S. should not get involved in Syria because it would escalate warfar throughout the Middle Eas

    3 vote(s)
    18.8%
  1. Light Lucario

    Light Lucario Moderator
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    Exactly. From what I've read, it sounds like there isn't really a good side and bad side in this conflict. Both sides seem to be pretty terrible, which does make the idea of the U.S. getting involved even more unappealing to me. It's a horrible situation that should be stopped, but choosing to fight with one side or taking military action in general doesn't sound like it would be helpful to ending this conflict or preventing more innocent people from being killed.
     
  2. Convoy Rat

    Convoy Rat Member

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    Ahem, excuse me sire! But it's my opinion and you must respect that! How dare you belittle me by making a Star Wars reference.

    Blasphemy!
     
  3. MDawg

    MDawg Nerfariously planning

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    The rebels aren't to be trusted either. Evidence has them linked to the chemical attacks in addition to a number of them being supportive of Al Queda.

    This is basically a choice between horrible people and terrible people. There's no "good" side because both of them are bad for us. We either get Assad who is friendly with the Russian/Iranian side or we get Islamists who will tear apart the modicum of religious freedom Syria has maintained due to Assad's stranglehold on the nation. The exact same thing happened in Egypt post-Mubarak as Islamists there won the elections and started the oppression campaign up until the military stepped in to take down the government a second time.

    Of course choosing to do nothing will gain the ire of parties that say it is our responsibility to help who then go on to complain that we're not the world police and to get out of the Middle East because we're in it for personal gain. The best thing to do is to just let them do each other in, but since we're not able to do optimal situations like that in the name of civility and common decency, the next-best thing is using diplomacy to try and talk some sense into them. They're free to keep killing each other, but not with chemical weapons.
     
  4. EroSennin

    EroSennin The Frog Hermit

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    We shouldn't touch this thing with a 10 foot pole. This whole thing is a cluster !@#$. Helping the rebels over throw Assad won't necessarily make that Syrias government better for its people let alone us and could make it worse depending which rebel force takes power. Plus if we get involved, Russia, China and Iran will also step in which could escalate this civil war into WW3. Its a lose-lose situation for us. Nothing good will come to us for getting involved.
     
  5. defunctzombie

    defunctzombie 1992 not 2002
    Staff Member Moderator

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    Okay, everyone, calm down. I was just asking that you keep the heavy sarcasm out of your replies. You don't need to use Old English.
     
  6. Rud

    Rud Nine Arts Dragon

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    Arent these rebels to an extent being helped by Al-Qaeda?, yeah Assad is a really bad dude and he shouldn't have done this, but seriously the U.S has nothing to gain from helping overthrow him, the rebels won't necessarily be our friends afterwards,
     
  7. stephane dumas

    stephane dumas Well-Known Member

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    Exactly, we're in a situation where we stuck between 2 evils....

    And some Hollywood stars didn't protest highly like they did with Iraq from what I read on Mediaite.
     
  8. The Huntsman

    The Huntsman Friend of Toon Zone

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    Or it could be because this isn't like Iraq. Did you feel like we were at war with Libya? I wouldn't, and we did more there than what is proposed here. We aren't even putting in a no-fly-zone. We won't have jets flying over the country. We're just shooting missiles from ships and hindering their chemical weapon capabilities. If this were a war, and the President wanted to put 75,000 troops in Syria, then you can bet more people would be complaining. This isn't that.
     
  9. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu That's 'Cause I ATE IT!!!
    Staff Member Moderator Reporter

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    I think it's a colossal mistake to lump all the anti-Assad factions into one group and assume they're the same. That's the same mistake that was made for too long in strategies in Iraq and in Afghanistan. One problem that has been there from the start is that there is not a single, unified rebel front against Assad in Syria. There is a broad array of factions that have a grudge against Assad, and since the start of the civil war, many of those factions have been just as willing to shoot at each other as at Assad. Behavior reported by refugees and reporters indicates that some of them aren't much better than Assad -- they've got grudges and scores to settle of their own. Some of those factions are also indeed openly aligned with al Qaeda, but there are others (along with many of the Syrian people) who don't want to see an Islamic state rise after Assad is gone.

    The factionalism among the anti-Assad forces is one reason why efforts to "arm the rebels" have not gotten much traction in the West. The question arises of which rebels, and how do you guarantee what you get afterwards when you do or ensure those weapons aren't going to end up pointed at you afterwards. We have experience with this from the past in Afghanistan (and I'm talking about the CIA proxy war in the 80's as much as the current war). This is also why peace efforts never got very far -- when Assad's forces were doing very badly about a year ago, there wasn't enough unity among the anti-Assad forces to form an opposite side to negotiate with. There are also too many factions who only see the end as Assad's head on a pike -- not much incentive for Assad to lay down his arms and leave when "leave" means "submit yourself for summary execution." Might be what he deserves, but that's not much of a motivation to negotiate.

    On the other hand, many rebel groups threw in with al Qaeda and other religious extremist groups because they weren't getting help from anywhere else, and it's also true that those forces have often had the most battlefield success in Syria. They've had a lot of practice. One reason why Western military intervention is a dicey game is that those forces may stand the most to gain by Assad's fall, since they're the most organized, well-funded, and motivated to unite under a single banner and shove aside all the other factions once Assad is gone. Which ends up being a repeat of what happened in Afghanistan in the 90's after the Soviets left. Except that Syria is known to have a sizable chemical weapons stockpile.

    And that last bit is why I don't think it's wise to just say, "A pox on all your houses" and walk away. I don't see a way out of this that doesn't incur massive amounts of human suffering and a whole lot more bloodshed. But I also see too many Syrian endgames that wind up making the entire region even less stable, many of which will occur for sure if nobody outside Syria does anything. But I sure don't see a way out, and the number of people smarter and better-informed about this than me saying they don't see a way out either is probably the most alarming thing about all this.
     
  10. EinBebop

    EinBebop Data Dog

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    Chemical weapons were used, people! We need to send a message to the crazy dictators of the world that they stick to murdering their citizens through traditional means!
     
  11. Punisher

    Punisher One Shot At Glory

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    I have news for people, and it's that people have been killing each other and dying in horrible ways ever since man learned how to walk upright. We as a a nation absolutely cannot put a halt to that throughout the world because that task is impossible. So using the pretext that Assad killing his people with chemical weapons has to stop while him killing them with bombs and machine guns is okay is hypocritical. If we truly wanted to end suffering in Syria, we would have intervened earlier.

    For the record, I am totally 100 percent against any action in Syria. The United States should focus on the United States, and all we should do is just open our doors to the refuges if they want to come here. We can't intervene in every civil war in every country, and we can't expect them to accept our help or or style of living which we always try to impose.
     
  12. The Huntsman

    The Huntsman Friend of Toon Zone

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    Should we bring back the guillotine for executions then? What about stoning? Killing is killing, but societal norms must be followed. It is the mark of civilization. If we ignore those norms - if we allow people to do as they see fit - it will only lead to more death and suffering. People getting shot in the street for protesting is one thing. Them being gassed in their homes is another. You can't compare the two.
     
  13. Punisher

    Punisher One Shot At Glory

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    I see what you're saying, but I can't accept intervention in Syria as anything but hypocritical if it's just because of chemical weapons. We're allies with a country that still crucifies criminals.

    What I'm saying is that it seems to be that chemical weapons is being offered as a convenient excuse to get involved when there's probably a deeper purpose behind it. I cannot get behind the United States all of a sudden standing up for human rights in one particular country and using it as justification for military intervention when we willfully ignore it in others.
     
  14. macattack

    macattack I see you!
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    This is a big reason why I don't support US intervention in support of the rebels.

    The rebels are being increasingly taken over by al-Qaeda and other radical Muslim extremists. I won't support an alliance with them. They blew up the World Trade Center, and a pair of radical Muslim brothers blew up the finish line at the Boston Marathon. And we're going to support these fanatics against Assad?

    We are fools if we do so.
     
  15. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu That's 'Cause I ATE IT!!!
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    As I mentioned earlier, the radicalization of anti-Assad factions is happening because they are getting insufficient help from anyone else, and their success on the battlefield reflects their unified sense of purpose and much higher levels of combat experience. The extremist factions took hold because there wasn't any meaningful intervention earlier, so I don't think abandoning the anti-Assad factions entirely will do anything but accelerate that takeover. Increasingly, I'm seeing Syria as a repeat of Afghanistan in different ways: you can arm the rebels and then face those weapons pointed back at you later when they decide they don't like us much either (as happened when we financed the mujahedin in their fight against the Soviets), or you can ignore them as radicalization takes hold and turns the entire region into a failed state (as happened when we stopped financing Afghanistan once the Soviets left, leading to the rise of the Taliban and the use of the country as a safe haven for al Qaeda). The former case might mean MANPADs being fired at civilian airliners. The latter case might mean we get a replay of Afghanistan in the 90's but where extremists get an enormous cache of chemical weapons in addition to a safe haven. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    Increasingly, I'm leaning more towards SOME kind of intervention, but I'm also beginning to think that the best we can hope for is containment and whatever humanitarian aid we can muster. But any such efforts are going to require the kind of long-term financial and diplomatic efforts that US, at least, has no stomach for. Unless we can find or groom a real Syrian George Washington among the rebels, containment might be the only viable option, though I also find that horrifically cold blooded and a strategy that is also guaranteed not to win us much friends or influence in the region afterwards.

    EDIT: Assad is now saying he'll turn over control of all his chemical weapons to avert a US strike. While I trust him as far as I can throw him, it also seems to me that pursuing it is a workable way out of the corner we're painted in. If it makes the Russians put something real at stake, then it'll make it harder for those "no" votes in the UN if/when it turns out Assad lied.
     
  16. wonderfly

    wonderfly Shaking things up a bit
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    I guess that makes me the most "Pro-Removing Assad" guy here (which is what Obama was originally proposing - though I think he's backing off of that now).

    I don't like hypothetical scenarios like "well what if the next government is just as bad?". Assad is a war criminal, and the use of chemical weapons brings him in line with other war criminals whom the U.S. has fought against (like Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia).

    As Ed has said, if we ally ourselves with the rebels, we provide a counter to the weight of Al Qaeda (and other groups) that have infiltrated the rebels. We also show the civilians who are caught in the middle that the outside world does care what happens to them (and we do care, don't we?) and maybe we can help shape the next government (even if we don't have trooops on the ground - and no, there won't be troops on the ground like in Iraq).

    Also, the Iranian government is allied with the Assad government, and removing the Assad's from the chess board further weakens the Iranians. Even if you buy that the rebels are just as bad, I'll take random Sunni factions bickering over a post-Assad country versus a proxy government for Iran.

    What country is our ally that still crucifies people?

    This is the same argument thrown about when people complain that we allied with Stalin to take out Hitler. Sometimes you have to pick and choose your battles. No, the U.S. cannot fight in every war, but when human rights atrocities reach a certain point, we have a moral obligation to take a stand against it (and yes, I'm fine with blockades, and peace talks, but sometimes taking a stand includes military intervention).
     
  17. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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  18. MDawg

    MDawg Nerfariously planning

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    Unless of course it's Africa, right? :p
     
  19. wonderfly

    wonderfly Shaking things up a bit
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    So Saudi Arabia crucifies people...well, I learn something new every day. You would think a Muslim country would want to avoid the Christian symbolism...

    China performs human rights abuses as well, but we're still plenty friendly with them. Neither country is engaged in a violent civil war, like Syria is though.

    Well there was that whole air campaign against Libya a couple years back (which lead to the removal of another dictator)...but yes, I know, you're referring to sub-Saharan Africa. Well, former President Bush sent U.S. troops into Liberia in 2003, to help stabilize the country, for starters...

    U.S. Troops sent to Liberian Coast.

    Fact Sheet: History of U.S. military involvement in Africa.
     
  20. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    Crucifixion isn't exclusively Christian symbolism. It predates the Romans, of course, and is also mentioned in the Koran.
     

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