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Sunday, September 1, 2013

QUICK RESPONSES

I am very pleased that so many people found the William Polk piece useful.  Because it was linked to on Brian Leiter's blog, it is received an unusually large number of views, and I suspect has been re-linked on other sites as well, judging from the traffic that Google reports.

I simply cannot predict the outcome of the forthcoming Congressional debate, nor is it clear that Obama will abide by that vote, should it go against him.  Nevertheless, I am convinced that putting the matter to Congressional debate is a [rare] move in the right direction.

I hope no one will make the mistake of concluding from all of this that Assad's actions are in any way defensible.  This is an awful situation, and even if the wisest course for the US is to do nothing, no one can be happy with how things are going to play  out.

5 comments:

Unknown said...

It is premature to say that Assad was responsible for this incident. Indeed, as Polk points out, he had very little if anything to gain by ordering the use of chemical weapons. Until there is considerable more clarity about this incident than currently exists, it would be prudent to refrain from putting the blame for the incident on Assad.

Rayesti said...

There is something that the United States and other nations could do immediately: namely, provide aid to the millions of Syrian refugees and the neighboring countries that have been taking them in (humanitarian aid, as it used to be called). It's very difficult to believe President Obama and his spokespersons when they claim to have the interests of the victims of Syria's civil war in mind.
Our preposterous drone, rocket and bombs substitutes for foreign policy initiatives would not serve the interests of the victims of the terrible Syrian civil war. Nor does our substitute for foreign policy initiative serve our nation's interests. Needless to say, it doesn't serve the interests of the powerless peoples of the middle-east either.
Many thanks to Mr. Polk and you.

Tony Couture said...

You should check out the evidence (?) being collected on Syria on this blog: http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/a-detailed-summary-of-evidence-on.html

Not sure what to make of Iranians or Syrians (or spies?) posting videos online of their activities if this is the case, but the Syria story continues to change daily.

Tony Couture, Philosophy Department, UPEI

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Thanks, Tony. I will.

Michael Llenos said...

I believe the Syrian problem must not just be a rush to arms but also a strategic mind-set on a positive end result before the first shot, on our side, is fired.

I was recently reading Michael Grant's translation of Cicero which I believe is still relevant today. Here are the parallel passages that struck me:

"It is hard for any Roman general fighting in Asia, Cilicia, Syria or the kingdoms of the interior to limit his attention to the enemy and to successes in the field... Words cannot express the hatred, gentlemen, in which we are held in countries overseas because of the scandalous, extortionate behaviour of the persons we have sent out to govern them."

--pages 66-67 'Cicero: Selected Political Speeches' Penguin Classics ISBN: 978-0-14-044214-4