US Arms Syria Freedom Fighters at Last

The Obama administration announced today that it was finally going to do the obvious and supply limited kinds of arms in limited amounts to some of the freedom fighters trying to destroy the bloody fascist Baathist regime of Syria. There is also a timid announcement of a limited no-fly zone

The specialized UN agency says that the number of dead in less than two years is between 80,000 and 90,000. The Syrian rebellion death toll thus approximates the number of 100,000 some organization blame the US for during its eight year military intervention in Iraq. At this rate, the Syrian war of liberation would cost more than 300,000 Syrian lives. American non-intervention preserves lives, sure thing!

Of course, all the Syrian victims were killed by other Arabs and by the occasional Iranian whereas, in Iraq, it was only most of the victims. I don’t hear a clamor of protests from either liberal or libertarian circles about the bloodshed in Syria. Not all victims of war and of civil war are equal, I guess. Those who are killed by Americans,  or  withing national borders that comprise an American military presence, are more dead than the others.

Of course, I think President Obama is doing the right thing even if too little and too late. You have no right to stand by when war planes deliberately bomb apartment buildings occupied by  children and women.

Closet pacifists of all feathers will attack this morally self- evident statement. I predict that they will not make sense and that their protestations will not ring true.

PS This, for the simple-minded among you: Syria has negligible amounts of oil.

About Jacques Delacroix

I write short stories, current events comments, and sociopolitical essays, mostly in English, some in French. There are other people with the same first name and same last name on the Internet. I am the one who put up on Amazon in 2014: "I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography" and also: "Les pumas de grande-banlieue." To my knowledge, I am the only Jacques Delacroix with American and English scholarly publications. In a previous life, I was a teacher and a scholar in Organizational Theory and in the Sociology of Economic Development. (Go ahead, Google me!) I live in the People’s Green Socialist Republic of Santa Cruz, California.
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45 Responses to US Arms Syria Freedom Fighters at Last

  1. Terry Amburgey says:

    I seem to have missed the announcement of even a limited no-fly zone, can you point me in the right direction? What I’ve seen indicates that support will be small arms and possibly some anti-armor munitions. Pretty weak stuff. The US should arrange for both man portable anti-armor and surface-to-air missiles. I can’t speak for either libertarian or liberal ‘circles’ but the bloodbath in Syria is a humanitarian disgrace.

  2. Bruce says:

    It took the heat of three or four domestic scandals to get the tail to finally wag the Obama dog. Still good to see we’re not completely ignoring the mass murder of innocent people. Indeed, not all victims are created equal. It depends on how the event is covered. Six million Jews murdered by Hitler, bad. 23 million Russian’s murdered by Stalin, not nearly as bad.
    Dr. Terry is exactly right about the level of weapons they need. They must counter the air superiority and heavy armor to be effective. There is some excellent aim and fire stuff out there that is simple to use and could help put a stop to some of the slaughter.

    • Or, alternatively, it may be that Mr Obama is AWOL and that someone else made this decision.

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        “Or, alternatively, it may be that Mr Obama is AWOL and that someone else made this decision.”

        The role of Obama apologist doesn’t suit you.

      • I have been saying since before he was elected that President Obama is an empty suit. He is an impostor who,pretends to be President Obama.

        I haven’t seen any reason recently to change my mind. On the contrary, I see re-inforcement of my perception all around. He is not evil; he cannot be evil because he is absent.

  3. Terry Amburgey says:

    “On the contrary, I see re-inforcement of my perception all around.”

    Of course you do, you suffer from extreme and chronic confirmation bias. President Obama is not evil (in contrast to say, Dick Cheney may he rot in h***). President Obama is dishonest and a world class hypocrite.

    • Bruce says:

      He’s the lifeguard in the red shirt and cool board shorts with the white cross motif. He’s up in the 15 ft stand looking at the beautiful water and chatting up all the chicks who flock to see him. He looks thru the binoculars from time to time, first to the right, then to the left and back again. He even stands up once in a while and stretches. He loves the trappings and perks. He’s the man. Then suddenly someone is caught in a rip current and cries out for help… You know the rest of the story.

  4. Hahah! Hey Reagan called al-Qaeda “freedom fighters” too…

    • Terry Amburgey says:

      @Brandon
      Since a-Qaeda was supposedly not created till late 1988 your quote seems unlikely. Can you provide a source? Are you sure your not confusing al-Qaeda and mujahideen?

      • Terry: Don’t confuse Brandon with your damned facts!

      • Ah that’s right! Al-Qaeda was indeed an offshoot of the mujahideen (which Reagan praised as “freedom fighters”; if I recall correctly, many of the mujahideen ended up in the Taliban, too). To be fair, I didn’t quote anybody. My point is only that hawks are stupid: they (rightly) assail the federal government’s inability to deliver the mail but somehow think that – with a little bit of help from their magic unicorn horns and fairy dust – the federal government will somehow lessen Syria’s problems by bombing the country and arming Islamist groups that have been outlawed in Syria for decades because of their penchant for violence.

        Since you guys have suddenly become enamored with details, please do the one sane person who visits the blog (that would be me) a favor and tell me which factions Washington is going to support in Syria.

        Less than 1% of the Syrian population has died in a civil war and bloodthirsty chickenhawks in the West call for their governments to make things worse. Pathetic. No wonder young people in the West are so angry: we have been getting urinated on by people who believe that the government is an ATM with magical powers.

        This is an echo chamber for fools and charlatans. For example, here is what Dr J wrote in January of 2011:

        The sad truth is that today, the world, including us, seems to have a choice between murderous violent jihadists and modernizing fascist regimes in Muslim countries. That’s a subject worth discussing. Libertarians don’t. Myself, I chose the fascists because they are not as willing to die to kill us. Also fascist systems sometimes become more representative.

        Two and a half years later, Dr J has suddenly changed his mind about which side he supports. The only thing he hasn’t changed is his short-sighted belief in the magical abilities of the US government to bring about miraculous change with its bombs. I have a post that addresses this echo chamber’s inability to think logically and soberly about foreign affairs: Imperialism: The Illogical Nature of “Humanitarian” Wars. Peter Pan and company may want to check it out before you find your offspring and your offspring’s offspring dead from weapons given to bad people because of good intentions.

  5. Terry Amburgey says:

    @Brandon

    My best guess is that the US & Euros will provide direct support to the National Coalition
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Coalition_for_Syrian_Revolutionary_and_Opposition_Forces
    They will try their best to limit ‘leakage’ to the Al-Nusra Front and affilaiated groups.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Nusra_Front
    For me the big question mark are the Kurds. They pretty much control NE Syria but don’t seem to actively cooperate with the opposition. Providing any support there would infuriate the Turks I suspect. As an aside my money is on a Kurdistan carved out of Iraq & Syria in the next few years providing a whole new mess…

  6. McHenry says:

    Echo! Echo…..echo……..echo.
    Good, it works.
    One thing we like in America is broad rules we can cling to, “we don’t negotiate with terrorists”, “we stand for freedom”, etc.
    It’s part of our moral character but also shows we try not to split hairs in our hopes to be righteous.
    What Brandon is advocating is a kind of biased application of moral beliefs.
    Murder and violence is wrong, yes or no? If we ignore 90,000 deaths as none of our business should we not also leave old ladies out for muggers?
    I think being an American citizen comes with a set of responsibilities, like it or not. One of these is something of an assumed moral high ground, that we have a good way of life and so, where we can be of help to advance our ways, we should.
    There is confirmation that our society is onto something in the stories of many immigrants who have come here to stay.
    I heard a story on NPR recently about a Chinese guy who now lives in Wisconsin in the living room of a house packed with roomies. He shares this room with his aging mother and works full time placing one repetitive piece into cellphones on an assembly line. He called it Heaven compared to his previous life in China.
    So, I think we are onto something, and that our way of life aught to and seems to be the way the world wants to go. And part of that direction is supporting the beliefs that make our society work, including that murders are wrong.
    If we all agree that here on planet Earth, the story should continue to no real end as one regime topples another until the sun explodes and the human time in the universe is complete, then we have no reason to do anything but watch the blood spill.
    But if we think maybe humanity has more to offer itself and the universe, is anything but total peace and cooperation amongst all humans a waste of our time?
    I think intervention in Syria is necessary not because we get to decide who is right in a conflict not our own, but because if we hold basic beliefs that we would like to see integrated into the world of the future, then we must act on them.

    • McHenry’s response typifies exactly what I mean by being unable to comprehend simple arguments due to cognitive blocks:

      If we ignore 90,000 deaths as none of our business should we not also leave old ladies out for muggers?

      Nobody has said anything at all about ignoring 90,000 deaths (an extremely liberal estimate, by the way). The inability – or refusal – to understand my argument speaks volumes about the continued irrelevance of the ideals of the Baby Boomer generation. Yours is a doctrine of savagery. It has left the younger generations of the West poor, angry and apathetic. It relies on straw man arguments and rational ignorance to succeed.

      Letting the people who reside in the old French “protectorate” of Syria duke it out and define themselves as they see fit is not doing nothing. Allowing the people who live in post-colonial societies to define themselves is necessarily going to require patience and wisdom – two things that Baby Boomers lack in droves – as these definitions sometimes descend into violence. This is the process that made the West free and prosperous. This is the process that made Japan and South Korea free and prosperous. This is the process that will make the Middle East free and prosperous.

      Taking the side of al-Qaeda – an organization responsible for murdering thousands of innocent people in the United States – by arming them and bombing their enemies will only exacerbate the problems of the old French protectorate. Assuming that the US government has magical powers is bad enough in the political realm. In the intellectual realm, it is, along with the straw men you build for kindling, akin to the worst sorts of crimes.

  7. McHenry says:

    You make a good point but you are still saying in some cases killing is okay and in others it is not.
    You are still choosing sides, just with a different mask.

  8. Terry Amburgey says:

    @Brandon
    “Letting the people who reside in the old French “protectorate” of Syria duke it out and define themselves as they see fit is not doing nothing.”

    Alas, that’s not the situation. If it were then Assad the younger would be either dead or in exile by now the reprisals against the Alawites & Christians would be over and who knows what would be happening with the Kurds.

    But other nation states & groups have intervened. On the side of the Assad regime there is Russia, Iran, & Hezbollah. On the side of the opposition the Gulf states and to some extent Turkey. The intervention on the regime side has, to date, been much more effective.

    But to be honest I’m basically in agreement with McHenry. Even if it were mostly an internal affair like the genocide in Rwanda, mass murder calls for intervention.

  9. People: Look in on this blog archive and you will conclude from other exchanges that Brandon is against fighting until those who want to kill us specifically have said so officially and until they are on the Jersey Shore or in Santa Monica with large tanks. Even then, we would have to “declare war” (whatever that means). Speak of “cognitive blocks”; N.S. !

    I don’t want to sound even more pedantic but the French political rule over Syria was technically a ” mandate.” That was a trust granted by the League of Nations.

  10. henrymoore says:

    The real difference is not a question of Who killed who? It is one of who’s paying for what? The deaths in Iraq and Syria are equally heinous in my mind, but whichever one is going to be used by the same people who operate at a financial and moral loss at every single one of their other endeavors, to justify stealing what is rightfully mine, so that they can do things I either don’t approve of (in the case of innocents killed and post-war nation building social programs), or things I don’t necessarily mind or even favor (in the case of actually going after the bad guys, assuming they can even be identified) in the least efficient and/or most destructive way possible, is the one that raises my ire more.

    Iraq War, caused by United States, and paid for by US taxpayer: bad! Syrian Civil War, caused by country’s own regime’s repressive policies, but that does not affect me: who cares? Those who do should be the ones paying for it. Don’t assume that those who don’t want to pay for it are just selfish. Maybe they can’t afford it. Maybe they are more concerned about other things at the moment, like the negative consequences of such action, or the sorry state their own country is in.

    The reasons I’m not calling even for privately funded intervention in Syria are, 1) the Syrians, be they the regime or the rebels, aren’t picking my pocket like the US military does and, 2) the “good guys” might be as bad as or worse than the “bad guys”. Seems to me like a lot of the bad guys we end up taking out were once our good guys. I guess that’s just how it works when you’re an empire. It’s not a far cry from what the Romans had to do on occasion, or the Ottomans, to make sure everyone kept the same vision of the Roman’s (or Ottoman’s) imposed order.

    Come back to me with your moralistic guilt-shaming when you resolve these problems. And if you find that they can’t be resolved, perhaps it is because you spend much more time bitching about symptoms than their actual causes.

    • henrymoore says:

      Make that “Romans'” and “Ottomans'” if you please, I know how some people get sometimes.

    • Replaced by another comment.

    • henrymoore: The second sentence in your first paragraph is so long I don’t understand it (and I used to make a good living correcting confused students’ assignments).

      You write as if foreign war where the only excuse government had found to take what’s rightly yours. That’s very false, of course.

      I could always afford the Iraq war, same as I can afford to support a police force in my town. I have dealt with this issue on my blog repeatedly. The Iraq war cost me less than smoking; it always cost less than Prof. Terry’s beer. It’s a small matter of choice.

      Nothing wrong with moralizing. I hope you do it yourself, sometimes. It’s irrational to believe that reason takes care of everything that needs taking care.
      I am just stating the self-evident here. I know of no way to argue about this with you or with anyone else. In fact, I feel a certain fascination toward one who would announce to the world (to a tiny segment of the world reading this blog): “I am a beast devoid of human empathy.”

      • henrymoore says:

        From what you wrote, it seems you got the gist of it, but let me break it down for you: why should anyone be forced to pay for anything they don’t want? And what if the reason they don’t want those things takes more into account than the loss of what, according to you, is basically pocket change.

        Then this: “You write as if foreign war where the only excuse government had found to take what’s rightly yours. That’s very false, of course.”

        But when I said this, “whichever one is going to be used by the same people who operate at a financial and moral loss at every single one of their other endeavors”, I think I implied that there were plenty of other instances.

        If there is anyone that treats war as a special case, it is you. Where every conceivable type of wrongheaded government intervention that libertarians and conservatives challenge domestically suddenly become not only justifiable, but the only right course of action. Oh, yeah, and you’re selfish if you don’t agree.

      • henrymoore: I am well aware of the inconsistency in my position. As I am aware of the horrible results of the forced consistency of other libertarian-leaning types.

        We are long overdue for a debate on what it takes to preserve the sociopolitical conditions leading to less government .

        I was hoping someone more important than I would do it. It’s not happening. I am going to be the one to carry the coal, as usual!

        PS You could be gracious and thank me for correcting your composition!

      • henrymoore says:

        Thank you Professor Delacroix, but I am not sure as to what you are referring. Maybe the quip about once making a living correcting papers? Or did you mean that really long sentence of mine?

        Revised version: The deaths in Iraq during US intervention and in Syria going on right now are equally heinous in my mind. But I more hate conflicts that are the result of my government (the same people who screw up everything else they do) stealing from me. When the government taxes me and spends that money it generally does things I don’t approve of, and when it does things I do approve of, it generally does so in ways that I don’t.

  11. Terry Amburgey says:

    @Jacques
    In the thread above this one I quoted J.K. Galbraith.
    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

    In a very timely fashion henrymoore proves that not all conservatives are modern:

    “Syrian Civil War, caused by country’s own regime’s repressive policies, but that does not affect me: who cares?”

    Selfishness needs no moral justification for henrymoore and his ilk.

    • Terry: I am pretty sure henrymoore would hate you for calling him a conservative. He sounds more like a doctrinaire “libertarian.” They pretty much hate everybody for whom they don’t feel a deep contempt. They feel a deep contempt for most other people. There is a reason why anything with the Libertarian (cap) label rarely wins more then a fraction of 1% of the vote in any election. I often vote for Libertarian candidates myself nevertheless while I deplore much about them. The remind me of a mean old aunt I used to have who often baked really good cakes.

    • henrymoore says:

      Terry,

      I was stating that point as bluntly as possible to lead up to my next ones:

      “Those who do should be the ones paying for it. Don’t assume that those who don’t want to pay for it are just selfish. Maybe they can’t afford it. Maybe they are more concerned about other things at the moment, like the negative consequences of such action, or the sorry state their own country is in.”

      But since when were people not entitled to being selfish. How is intervening in Syria any different than me stealing from you, wherever you are, to pay for crime prevention in my backyard? And would you be selfish for refusing?

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        @henrymoore

        “But since when were people not entitled to being selfish.”

        The short answer is ‘since before we became people’.

        I’m going to assume that you are not a creationist. If you are, let me know – any conversation would be meaningless. If you aren’t we’ll have a conversation involving socio-biology and group selection. Jacques used to know that sort of stuff until he and his cerebral cortex retired.

      • henrymoore says:

        Okay, I think I know where you are going with this. Now let me ask you a question. Do you believe there are such things as rights? I assume you do since you care about what is going on in Syria (as do I, though I am far more concerned about what will happen with US intervention, and plenty of other things beside). If you don’t, let me know—any conversation would be meaningless. If you do we’ll have a conversation about the difference between what has naturally occurred as a result of biology/survival instincts, i.e., what has been predetermined, and what I am still justified in doing as an individual as a result of my ability to reason, including my ability to empathize, i.e., what I can do as a matter of choice, free will.

        If you are going to be arguing that because we have evolved collectively that we must continue to do so, or that we are unable to even escape this fate, that is fine, you’ll get no argument from me, but please don’t erect the classic straw man argument about libertarians believing in an atomistic world where every man “is an island, entire of itself.”

        I’m certainly for altruism and selflessness and community and fraternité, but if it’s not voluntary, if it’s not organic, I’ll have none of it. 1) Because it doesn’t end up working out so well; it is counterproductive; it has the opposite effect of that which is intended; it is central planning, doomed to fail; it suffers from the same hubris and incomplete knowledge that are inherent to all human interactions, only greatly multiplied by perverse incentives and moral hazard such as the abilities to dodge accountability, to deny responsibility, to socialize losses, and to monopolize violence. 2) Because I don’t want to.

        But, by all means, fire away.

        I notice you didn’t answer my other question. Can I justifiably steal from you in order to prevent crime in my own neighborhood? Yes, no? How about if that crime has no bearing on you? What if it does have some small impact on your life but you would still rather your money got put to better use than lining the pockets of keystone kops?

  12. Terry Amburgey says:

    @henrymoore

    “I notice you didn’t answer my other question. Can I justifiably steal from you in order to prevent crime in my own neighborhood? Yes, no?”

    I don’t agree that ‘steal’ is the right word. Having said that, the short answer is “Yes”. Shall we talk about cooperation & the role of social sanctions or public goods. I think the first should come first but either works.

    I’ll be referring to this dude a lot:
    Axelrod, Robert (2006), The Evolution of Cooperation (Revised ed.), Perseus Books Group, ISBN 0-465-00564-0

    BTW be careful about ‘keystone kops’, Bruce is sensitive to replacing ‘c’ with ‘k’. It brings back bad memories from his past.

    • henrymoore says:

      Haha. I checked my email one more time before going to bed and there was your reply. Are you sure that book is not just plagiarizing Prince Kropotkin? The title seems awfully familiar. Well, you have the floor. I’m ready. Poor Bruce.

  13. Terry Amburgey says:

    @henrymoore
    “Now let me ask you a question. Do you believe there are such things as rights? I assume you do since you care about what is going on in Syria (as do I, though I am far more concerned about what will happen with US intervention, and plenty of other things beside). If you don’t, let me know—any conversation would be meaningless.”

    Yes, if we use the term in this way: “Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.” The important point being that rights are normative rules: socially defined.

    No, if we use the term in this way: “all men are … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”. The important point being that the origin of natural rights is some old guy with a white beard up in the sky.

    I’ll let you decide the utility of further conversation.

    • henrymoore says:

      Terry, please don’t take my almost two-day silence as deciding that continuing this conversation has no utility. I’ve just been taking a break. So many self-imposed deadlines. So little time.

      I can certainly accept that rights are normative rules. That they can be derived from a basic understanding of human nature, without pointing to a deity. I could even take it a step further and acknowledge that they are mere conventions that are convenient for the time and the place, but I would qualify this by noting that an understanding of human nature (including the history and origins of human nature) is still an integral part of this. I’ll bet you agree.

      Are we good? Hope so.

      You can start with cooperation if it please you. That is, if you have the time. Looks like you are keeping yourself pretty busy at Brandon’s latest post.

      • McHenry says:

        Henry,

        Clarify this for me: it is your belief that any action taken by the whole US can be divided into those who support and those who abstain?
        Or, in the event of an election, 40% follow on president and the remaining another? So long as they all feel like it?
        If this is the case, how do you propose we ever get anything done?

      • henrymoore says:

        First of all, who is we?

        Second of all, what is so important about getting things done? What things? What if they are bad things and a majority still supports it?

        What is so magical about having more people agree with them that makes them automatically correct? Because 51% say so, I must do their bidding?

      • McHenry says:

        We being any group of people who identify as a collective. In the case above I was referring to the US.
        As to the doing of things, I mean the only things that really matter: learning everything about our planet and also exploring the whole universe to answer the 4 ancient philosophical questions.
        In the short term, I like the idea of betterong our collectovr lives. For example, I rather enjoy not building my own roads, it sounds like a real pain.
        I wonder how you suppose we’d get that done on a pay if you like society, because given the choice, I’d let my rich neighbor cover those roads.

      • henrymoore says:

        Me too. I wish I didn’t ever have to pay for anything. That would be awesome.

  14. Pingback: Rational Ignorance, Fairy Dust and Pissing Away the Future: Libertarians are Selfish and Stupid | FACTS MATTER

  15. Terry Amburgey says:

    “Me too. I wish I didn’t ever have to pay for anything. That would be awesome.”

    Omg, a socialist 47% sucker of the public teat! Probably born in Kenya. Jacques is going to want you to publish your grades back to Kindergarten on the internet to prove you’re not an empty suit who’s gotten everything in life handed to you.

    • henrymoore says:

      Jacques is a birthed? NO!!!

      • henrymoore says:

        EDIT: Birther! I typed that twice, and autocorrect fixed it both times. I only noticed it the first time.

      • henrymore: I don’t know where this come from. I don’t even want to ask where President Obama was born because the alternative to “USA” is too horrible to contemplate. I must say, it’s not clear though how and when this son of a peripatetic hippie mother became an African-American. Was it at that elite high-school for native Hawaiians and white aristocrats in Honolulu? And then, there is the fascinating issue of his occulted undergraduate grades. Why hide them? How much worse can they be than G. W Bush’s and John Kerry’s? What else is there?

      • henrymoore says:

        I hear you Jacques. All good questions I have asked at times myself, but unfortunately it seems they distract from larger issues.

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