Protest against war in Syria

Veteran of Vietnam speaks out against proposed war against Syria.

If (probably more a matter of when) bombing of Syria begins, Philly Against War has planned a protest at 4:30pm the next day at the NW corner of 15th and Market Streets.

A chemical attack occurred in Syria on 21 August. That much we know. Who was behid it? We're not really sure.

So on multiple occasions the intelligence community has raised ways — rebel capture, non-authorized capture on the Syrian side, or rogue officer — in which CW might be released against Assad’s wishes. Yet their case tying this attack to Assad relies on mere assumptions that none of those things have happened, even while they know the chain of command did not operate as it normally would have.
With all that in mind, consider the implications in this Alan Grayson op-ed. He explicitly reports the Administration has provided no more than a 12-page classified summary. He suggests the summary doesn’t refer to individual social media reports and, given the rules imposed by Mike Rogers, he would be unable to take notes on which social media reports it referred and cross-check them.

from street

At 50th & Baltimore

In the above quote, I'd note that for the Bush Administration to offer closed-door briefings where participants couldn't take notes or discuss what they saw with anyone, so that nothing could be checked or verified, was standard operating procedure. This severely limits the usefulness and relevance of having our elected representatives examne the evidence and it's disturbing to see the Obama Administration adopt the same procedure. Far too much deja vu for my taste. The blog post also reports that the admnisistration is considering selective declassification of particular pieces of evidence, which is again a "tell" that the administration is not playing straight with the American people.


What are the potential consequences of a war against Syria? Pretty darn grim, actually.

Iran, a nation which the US has sought to make war with for a decade has a mutual defense pact with Syria, which places them in a position of having to defend Syria by treaty obligation.
Iran is sitting on the second largest Natural Gas and the third largest oil reserves in the world.
It controls 35% of the oil provided to the entire world and more than half of the amount is provided to China through the Hormuz Strait, the world’s single most important geostrategic pathway for energy.
Iran refuses US currency for it’s oil trading, a direct blow to American hegemony. Dominating Iran is also seen by American war hawks as a way to control China based on the reasons stated above.


lava member

The reporter Robert Fisk recounts the lengthy history of poison gas used in the Middle East and then asks:

So what in heaven’s name are we doing? After countless thousands have died in Syria’s awesome tragedy, suddenly – now, after months and years of prevarication – we are getting upset about a few hundred deaths. Terrible. Unconscionable. Yes, that is true. But we should have been traumatised into action by this war in 2011. And 2012. But why now? 
I suspect I know the reason. I think that Bashar al-Assad’s ruthless army might just be winning against the rebels whom we secretly arm. With the assistance of the Lebanese Hezbollah – Iran’s ally in Lebanon – the Damascus regime broke the rebels in Qusayr and may be in the process of breaking them north of Homs. Iran is ever more deeply involved in protecting the Syrian government. Thus a victory for Bashar is a victory for Iran. And Iranian victories cannot be tolerated by the West.


For whatever it's worth, take with as much salt as you'd care to, Bashar Assad denies that his regime used poison gas. The Huffington Post also suggests that Assad may not have been the one behind the attack. Nevertheless, Secretary of State John Kerry calls the attack "unacceptable" and the President plans a full-court media press to convince Americans that a limited strike is the only alternative.


Vietnam vet addresses the crowd at Saturday's protest.

Bit of a speech by a younger woman as the protest.

Couple of posts from Juan Cole: Lots of drone strikes in Yemen, in fact, highest number in 16 months. President Obama isn't getting any help from the G20. No "Coalition of the Willing" this time. AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) is pushing for a strike, but:

AIPAC is in sync with conservative rabbis and the few Republican Jews in Congress, but they are hardly the rank and file.
Prominent Jewish Americans have come out forcefully against military action toward Syria. Among them is Alan Grayson (D-FL), who represents Orlando.

And Cole recounts how very, very useful and convenient Syria has been as an ally over the years.

group photo

Members of Congress will return to Washington DC September 9th, Friends Committee on Natioal Legislation, FCNL, has provided a toll-free number with which you can talk to your Congressperson - 1-855-686-6927. They also provide a fact sheet on the conflict.


Update: Chances for a peaceful resolution to the conflict are looking pretty good. Providing President Obama's hidden agenda is not more important than his explicit goals, this could be the end of it.