Re: Prediction thread

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Well sure, even if they declare something to inspectors we'll always claim there's more they haven't declared and that we know exactly where they are, and east, west, south, and north somewhat.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 1:24 PM
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Hoo boy.

I have a lot of information, and a lot of links, everybody from Pat Lang to Juan Cole to the commies, but really don't have a freaking clue what is (really, really!) going on or what will happen.

Pat Lang predicted that Obama would bomb on Senate Approval, and the House would never vote. But the Senate is not looking good.

This is a whole lot of energy and capital the WH is expending to just say "Oh, well, the people have spoken. Brand new Hitler gets away with it and the threat to the free world...well shit."

And it ain't over, won't be over for years. Obama can back off, and then we might see another chemical atrocity (from whatever source, Pat Lang thinks it's the Saudis) the next week.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 1:30 PM
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Uhh, two things:

1) Iran does have a signed piece of paper, a mutual defense treaty with Syria, which does obligate it to come to Syria's defense. In theory?

2) Russia has evacuated the personnel from its Syrian Naval base, but still has 30k Russians in Syria. Commercial for instance.

Russia does use a port in Cyprus. Check a map. The US has kindly asked Russia to move all its Naval vessels way the fuck away from Syrian waters. Check the map again.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 1:40 PM
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Obama can back off, and then we might see another chemical atrocity (from whatever source, Pat Lang thinks it's the Saudis) the next week.

Never heard of Pat Lang, but he or she sounds like an idiot.

I do wish I understood what the Administration is up to here. Are they really this incompetent, or is it 11-dimensional chess?

One thing seems clear: Obama's heart isn't in this Syria-bombing thing. If it were, he would have done it by now.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 2:02 PM
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Russia had 30,000 civilians in Syria in January. It's been evacuating them since then.
Russia "uses a port in Cyprus" in the sense that some Russian ships docked in Limassol this year. They're negotiating for Limassol or Paphos - the new Cypriot PM is a leftwinger who has promised to get rid of the SBAs, but presumably would be amenable to replacing them with Russian bases in exchange for large amounts of no-strings cash. No ships there at the moment.
There's no mutual defence treaty with Iran that anyone knows about.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 2:04 PM
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Hilary is arguing the 11 dimensional chess angle- They'll agree to turn over all their chemicals because Obama was rattling his saber so loudly and because of a supposed misstatement by Kerry.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 2:04 PM
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5: Heretic. Burn him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 2:06 PM
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Very interesting link - that does look like a good face-saving way out for all concerned.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 2:06 PM
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BTW: SBA = sovereign base areas. The corner of a Cypriot field that is forever England. (We didn't leave Cyprus altogether back in the sixties; we kept a couple of bits.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 2:08 PM
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I have a lot of information, and a lot of links, everybody from Pat Lang to Juan Cole to the commies, but really don't have a freaking clue what is (really, really!) going on or what will happen.

FTFY


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 2:15 PM
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4:Never heard of Pat Lang, but he or she sounds like an idiot.

Pat Lang blog article about Bandar Bush giving sarin to rebels

Pat Lang at Wikipedia

While serving in the US Army, Lang graduated from the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Armed Forces Staff College. He is a decorated veteran of several of the United States' overseas conflicts. During the Vietnam War, he served in the Special Forces and Military Intelligence.[3]

He was trained and educated as a specialist in the Middle East and served in that region for many years. He was the first professor of Arabic at the United States Military Academy, where he was twice selected as best classroom teacher of the year.[4]

At the Defense Intelligence Agency, he was the Defense Intelligence Officer (DIO) for the Middle East, South Asia and counter-terrorism, and later, the first Director of the Defense Humint Service.[5] At the DIA, he was a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service. He participated in the drafting of National Intelligence Estimates. From 1992 to 1994, all the U.S. military attach├ęs worldwide reported to him. During that period, he also briefed President George H. W. Bush at the White House, as he had during Operation Desert Storm.[citation needed]

He was also the head of intelligence analysis for the Middle East for seven or eight years at that institution. He was the head of all the Middle East and South Asia analysis in DIA for counter-terrorism for seven years. For his service in the DIA, Lang received the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive.[6]
Post-retirement activities


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 2:19 PM
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4,10:"Ignorant malicious fucks" about sums up the whole fucking blog.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 2:22 PM
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Conflicts Forum

I don't know who these people are, I just follow a link, I think from FDL. I read, along with ten other sources and sites and try to compare and collate the info in my head.

This one repeats the rumors about Bandar bin Sultan's meeting with Putin. I don't know if there is one or multiple sources on that, if this doesn't count as a source. I just file it.

It would be surprising if the Americans had consented to such blatant threats of terrorism, but if these detailed accounts of the discussion are accurate, it is not surprising that reports are circulating in the western press describing growing US worries about Saudi Arabia. In the region too, some see the kingdom overreaching itself and acting in a fraught and disturbed fashion. The US became uneasy when Saudi Arabia seemed to be advising General Sisi to resist strong US advice to the generals against any heavy-handed military repression of the Brotherhood, but then was more than a little shocked by the exceptionally tough language seemingly directed against Washington's own condemnation of the coup by top Saudi officials, including King Abdullah, who declared that "[t]he kingdom stands ... against all those who try to interfere with its [Egypt's] domestic affairs" and charged that criticism of the army crackdown amounted to helping the "terrorists". More recently, bombing incidents in Lebanon, for the first time, have been directly attributed by Hizbullah to Saudi Arabia, following the apprehension of those alleged to have been responsible for the attacks. The suggestion is that Saudi Arabia was trying embroil Hizbullah's leadership in a severe domestic crisis - in order to undermine the movement's ability to fight in Syria. Others commentators in Lebanon have noted that Saudi's adamant refusal to contemplate any Hizbullah participation (of any sort) in any new government in Lebanon (in reprisal for Hizbullah's role in Syria), effectively is condemning Lebanon to a long period of governmental void, precisely at a time of great instability and insecurity in the country. If Bandar is both responsible for bringing the Chechens into Syria (who have both beheaded western journalists and massacred Kurds, Sunni sheikhs and Christians, according to reports), and is now threatening the forthcoming winter Olympics with similar Chechen terrorism, then the US and Europe have due cause to be very worried indeed.

Pat Lang's years stationed in the ME are a bit of a mystery, as you might expect, but my impression it was SA and Lebanon.

If SA and Gulf States is the bad guy here, WTF we gonna do? Bomb Mecca? Embargo the oil? Demand they pull all their investments out of the West, sell off the treasuries in their SWFs?

Probably, we kiss their ass and try to cover their crimes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 2:56 PM
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That really is an impressive CV. So, he was in military intelligence during a war that was lost largely because of utter failures in military intelligence. He was the DIA desk officer for the Middle East, during a period when the US intelligence community totally failed to spot the fall of the Shah and the Iraqi nuclear programme, not to mention being the DIA guy directly responsible for totally missing the impending invasion of Kuwait, which involved a very large number of tanks lining up facing south in the open in broad daylight in a very flat desert. He got a load of Iraqi rebels killed in the disastrous coup attempt after Desert Storm, which was penetrated by Saddam's domestic intelligence from the beginning. He then moved on up to head humint for DIA in the runup to the invasion of Iraq.

Wow. I mean, just, wow. The guy has had a career of lurching from one disastrous mistake to another.

Bet he was a great classroom teacher, though.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 3:02 PM
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Guardian

Syria, SA, Qatar, Iran Gulf of Arabia, competing pipelines

Instead, the following year, Assad pursued negotiations for an alternative $10 billion pipeline plan with Iran, across Iraq to Syria, that would also potentially allow Iran to supply gas to Europe from its South Pars field shared with Qatar. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the project was signed in July 2012 - just as Syria's civil war was spreading to Damascus and Aleppo - and earlier this year Iraq signed a framework agreement for construction of the gas pipelines.

The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline plan was a "direct slap in the face" to Qatar's plans. No wonder Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, in a failed attempt to bribe Russia to switch sides, told President Vladmir Putin that "whatever regime comes after" Assad, it will be "completely" in Saudi Arabia's hands and will "not sign any agreement allowing any Gulf country to transport its gas across Syria to Europe and compete with Russian gas exports", according to diplomatic sources. When Putin refused, the Prince vowed military action.

14: And who the fuck are you, and what do you read?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 3:09 PM
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I like this from the comments

Watch for it: Syrians laying down their chemical WMD is conditioned on Israeli's agreeing to be bound by the Chemical Weapons Convention too.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 3:24 PM
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I love the concept that the US, in order to stop a pipeline being built from Iran through Iraq to Syria, would obviously decide to start a civil war in Syria rather than making any use of the 50,000 troops they had in Iraq.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 3:33 PM
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In off topic, but more important news (locals only division): NMM to Cal Worthington.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 3:41 PM
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Why are Obama and Kerry acting panicked and babbling incoherently?

Because Russia and Saudi Arabia are close to a shooting war.

Why does Kerry promise that an "unbelievably tiny" cruise attack will suffice?

Because it will show the above whose side we are on, and that we will fight. Maybe it will enough to calm things down, but I doubt it.

Maybe because they think there will be a counterattack, and give us an excuse. Fighting for Gulf State's Oil is a little obvious. Why has Obama gone to Congress? Well, maybe he will ignore them and attack anyway. Before it becomes obvious we are the Gulf State's attack dog.

In any case the ME Resource War is already on. And it will spread and escalate. We are going to Iran.

Nothing much to do with chemical weapons.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 3:41 PM
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17:The US Army in Iraq is going to start bombing the Iraqi pipelines?

Well, that's good analysis.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 3:43 PM
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Boston/Cambridge peeps. Looks like I may be back in town for a conference [tentative, at the moment] in late October if anyone is around for a quick meet-up, and if I have a free couple of hours away from the library mines.

>


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 4:29 PM
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NMM to Cal Worthington and his dog Spot. Sad.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 4:46 PM
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18: Pussy cow, pussy cow, pussy cow.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 4:51 PM
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21: I could potentially make that, though since I'm not actually in Boston sometime on a weekend would be easier for me.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 4:59 PM
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re: 24

I think it's mid-week, although I may be travelling a day or two either side. It's possible I'll have no free time, it may be a case of flying in the night before and out the same day the conference ends. But last time, I had a day free.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 5:02 PM
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21: sweet! We will doubtless be around and have no plans other than trying to get maybe a little more sleep now and then which can certainly be deferred for a meetup.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 5:18 PM
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Barry Rittholz has picked up on the "Rebels Did It"

The doctored report was picked up on Israel's Channel 2 TV on Aug. 24, then by Focus magazine in Germany, the Times of Israel, and eventually by The Cable in Washington, DC.

According to the doctored report, the chemical attack was carried out by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, an elite unit commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president's brother.

However, the original communication intercepted by Unit 8200 between a major in command of the rocket troops assigned to the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division, and the general staff, shows just the opposite.

The general staff officer asked the major if he was responsible for the chemical weapons attack. From the tone of the conversation, it was clear that "the Syrian general staff were out of their minds with panic that an unauthorized strike had been launched by the 155th Brigade in express defiance of their instructions," the former officers say.

According to the transcript of the original Unit 8200 report, the major "hotly denied firing any of his missiles" and invited the general staff to come and verify that all his weapons were present.

The report contains a note at the end that the major was interrogated by Syrian intelligence for three days, then returned to command of his unit. "All of his weapons were accounted for," the report stated.

Rittholz also in the same post prints the "12 very high-level former intelligence officials wrote the following memorandum to Obama today"

There is a growing body of evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East -- mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters -- providing a strong circumstantial case that the August 21 chemical incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters. The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 5:32 PM
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Losing the vote in Congress won't ruin Obama's presidency.

Lying his ass off to push America into a war and fucking getting caught at it will destroy both his Presidency and his legacy/reputation.

Only one way out...war.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 5:43 PM
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6: Hilary of the Zoy clan?

I confess that, while I can scarcely actually believe it, I would marvel if it were the case that the US and Russia (Obama and Putin), are playing bad cop/good cop here in order to bring around a hostile, troubling* perpetrator.

Think about it: what would it take to make something like that work?

Obama would have be as convincing as possible that he was serious about beating Assad up. Move ships around in the area, withdraw non-essential diplomats from Lebanon, engage in a highly visible military exercise or two in the Mediterranean, hold Congressional hearings, confer with the EU and Arab League, etc., seek an AUMF from Congress, and generally speechify. Right, check.

Putin would have to roll his eyes and shake his head, reassure Assad that he's his friend and would like nothing more than to protect him from this bad, mean cop: move his own ships around in the area, insist that an impartial arbiter (UN weapons inspectors) be consulted, declare that it would be ridiculous for Assad to have ordered the use of chemical weapons ... isn't that right, Assad?

Check on that as well. Then it would just take a suggestion on good cop Putin's part that there's a neat way to keep bad cop Obama from beating him up, and maybe we should do that, just to appease the jerk - what do you say, Bashar?

I could actually, maybe, believe this if Kerry didn't seem so feckless.

* Putin has good reason to find events in Syria troubling: the entire region really is becoming destabilized, in significant part due to the sheer numbers of refugees flooding Lebanon, Turkey, northern Iraq, who are straining at the seams. It is not good at all and really can't go on much longer.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 5:53 PM
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UN weapons inspectors

When and how does Syria become safe enough? They don't work in active war zones.

Maybe we can trust Putin and Assad to take care of the chems?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 6:07 PM
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When and how does Syria become safe enough? They don't work in active war zones.

You're thinking that it's bonkers to suppose that the UN could play a role in a chemical weapons transfer to international agents? Apparently that's what Ban Ki-moon is inclined to press for, though, and is suggesting as an alternative to a UN Security Council resolution sanctioning use of military force. I don't know what sort of procedure he has in mind.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 6:32 PM
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5: Oh ajay, you're such a maverick.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 6:40 PM
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31: I heard tell there was a war going on there.

What is there a safe place to collect the tons and tons of weapons, safety for UN teams guarding them, and a safe path to the sea? If not now, when? How long will Obama wait? What happens if/when whoever rebels overthrow the regime?

Transfer or destruction (how?) of stockpiles of chemical weapons sounds to me like something that could happen under secure stable conditions. Syria ain't that.

I don't object to it, it just doesn't seem feasible.

Anyway, Obama ain't biting.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 7:31 PM
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@27

That's not Ritholtz, it's that conspiracy theorist Washington's Blog. Given Barry's insistence on having good data, I'll never understand why he gives that nutter bandwidth. Though, given their similar views, it would come as no surprise at all if McManus was actually writing that blog on the side.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 7:38 PM
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If apocalypse isn't three months away then really, what's the point of living?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 8:03 PM
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The next six months are critical.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 8:05 PM
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bw(t)=bob's wrongness at any given time
FW(t)=fuckedupedness of the world situation measured expressed as negative rat orgasms
b0=bob's base-level wrongness, b1=bob's coefficient of wrongness, b2=bob's hysteria factor

bw(t)=b0+b1FW(t)b2

Based on the archives solve for b0, b1, and b2. Apply results to this thread. Extra credit for not discussing further.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 8:19 PM
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I think it would be simpler just to say that FW(t) is the quality of the world situation measuredin rat orgasms. When the value is negative, the world sitch is fucked up. That seems a lot more straightforward, to me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 8:37 PM
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Sure.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 8:38 PM
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It's like you don't even care about getting this right.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 8:39 PM
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But then depending on b2 bob's wrongness might be imaginary.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 8:45 PM
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Bob saved a cat today. in another state. by thinking clearly. I'm not going to start taking his politics seriously yet, but I'll read some of what he writes, paying special attention to tool-using lines of reason.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 8:50 PM
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Bob is right about everything, but chooses at times to make predictions that do not turn out to be correct, and which do not at the time they are made seem at all likely to turn out correctly.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 8:58 PM
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My guess is that in investigation of Syria's actual chemical weapons will indicate that these particular chemical weapons could not have been those which Syria has actually stockpiled. Someone in John Kerry's position would be concerned about that.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 9:02 PM
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I don't know why you're all so grouchy, I for one have enjoyed this (now unusual) taste of BobClassic. Also, he's occasionally been completely right!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 9:09 PM
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He is always completely right. Sometimes he chooses to speculate in ways that are unlikely to be correct, and which do not turn out to be correct. At the same time, he is right about everything.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 9:16 PM
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Other commenters speculate only in the most conventional manner and yet are wrong about everything.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 9:17 PM
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I predict a rapid increase in the incident of rodent orgasm within 20 days.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 9:19 PM
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You found a short-term job?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 9:34 PM
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I am just grumpy. And bob is no wronger than the whole political discussion on Syria. My God, the horror.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 9:36 PM
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49: I suspect there are some people from Canada in these parts.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 9:38 PM
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We have nukes and money and computers and yet look at us.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 9:50 PM
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I suspect there are some people from Canada in these parts, whore.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09- 9-13 9:51 PM
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Colonel Lang's blog was very good in the Bush years, but over time, the quality control has slipped. He used to be healthily suspicious of the Israelis, but these days he's started saying things that are frankly anti-semitic (this is of course a fairly common failure-mode). Also, he has some really weird ideas about Obama - he's agin him because he "chose to identify as black under the influence of marxist professors" or some such, presumably as opposed to passing for white like a real American.

So I've basically hung up the RSS feed, which is a pity because even if he's going emeritus, some of the other contributors are great. Adam L. Silverman on the Middle East and guerrillas, "The Twisted Genius" on the Cold War, Vietnam, and intelligence, Brigadier-General (Ret) Alan Farrell's unique movie reviews (like Gawker/alameida house style for ex-Green Beret generals, about films!).


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 2:37 AM
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Farrell's film reviews are indeed a unique and precious thing...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 3:37 AM
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Yves Smith ...lists winners and losers, after the war is over because UN and Putin, and Assad saved Obama's ass. Whatever. Decent comments.

One says Bandar was happy after meeting with Putin, which is a new spin, and another says SA promised Qatar to take care of Syria (after Muslim Brotherhood lost in Egypt?)

Smith says the turning point in the Senate was Kerry's "unbelievably small war." Vote count (Hamsher) went down to 35-65, and Boxer was not going to have that vote on her record.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 4:56 AM
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Yves Smith is every bit as bad as the effing media drama queens and all of us. Morons, the lot. The admin was busy stepping on their dicks for sure but that is the only mode possible in our current political situation. Actual diplomacy is unpossible. Winners/losers! winners/losers! holy mother of God kill us all.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 5:19 AM
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It is no more than we deserve.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 5:19 AM
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"We are here at JP's, where we've secretly replaced the fine coffee they usually serve with crystal meth."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 5:26 AM
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I can't think of a drug that comes in crystals and makes people a bit grumpy, so I went with meth.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 5:31 AM
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I can't think of a drug that comes in crystals and makes people a bit grumpy

Mcmanamphetamine. Street name "Crystal Bob".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 5:35 AM
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Most any drug in sufficiently robust crystalline form administered rectally would undoubtedly induce at least a short period of initial grumpiness.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 5:35 AM
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Even a liquid coffee enema can get you caffeine intoxication. That's why you should never make an enema from straight espresso.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 5:50 AM
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Keep your friends close, but your enemas decaffeinated.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 5:53 AM
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Just be sure to include plenty of foam.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 5:54 AM
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The Santorumcino.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:07 AM
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Part of the whole circus is, of course, post-Iraq/post-Snowden justifiable skepticism. Collateral damage from being lying sacks of shit. But the Moronado on the right and in the MSM is truly something to behold. Nothing even remotely resembling diplomacy really possible.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:21 AM
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I'm with JP. The US has apparently achieved its foreign policy goals without bombing anybody. The process to get there was confusing, but basically a big success. But the media is going to turn it into a big failure of masculinity by the Obama administration, which means the next time we're in a similar situation, it will be bomb first, talk second.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:25 AM
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It will probably be worse next time because Hillary will be president and she's always either going to be too masculine or not at all masculine, depending on who is shitting into the TV at the moment.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:30 AM
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I do not, however, suffer from a surfeit of sanguinity when it comes to the US and foreign affairs going forward.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:33 AM
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68 - I'm expecting the Republicans to pivot right back to "Obama is allowing a second Holocaust in Syria because he is weak on Muslim violence and possibly gay". (You know what? That's fine! Let's get away from the idea that the opposition party should knuckle under to any cockamamie scheme that the President proposes. The Republicans will be hindered by the fact that to a rough approximation zero people give a shit about Syria and it's hard to tie a foreign policy failure around someone's neck when it doesn't involve any American deaths.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:34 AM
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I could go either way with how you're using "sanguinity" here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:35 AM
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The process to get there was confusing, but basically a big success.

How does this keep happening?!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:43 AM
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In more uplifting news reported by SEK.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:51 AM
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I could go either way with how you're using "sanguinity" here.

--You sanguine about the kinda reception we're apt to receive on an Alliance ship, Captain?

-- Absolutely. ...what's "sanguine" mean?

-- Sanguine. Hopeful. Plus, point of interest, it also means "bloody".

-- Well, that pretty much covers all the options, don't it?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:54 AM
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That suit looks really flammable.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:54 AM
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||
Technological change and obsolescence can lead to amazing images.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:58 AM
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How does this keep happening?!

Yeah, for all the sword-rattling, I can't really come up with the scenario where the administration would actually *want* to start a war with Syria. I'm generally wary of the N-dimensional chess explanations of executive policy, but this one seemed practically custom designed to elicit opposition from all the right places and rally a broad majority of the country into opposition to military action. Also, maybe I just wasn't reading the right media sources, but Israel sure seemed uncharacteristically quiet during this entire affair.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:59 AM
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It appears that there were discussions on the point between Obama and Putin last week. As Benen says, that most certainly does not indicate that there was some grand plan that played out, but my God how do people think diplomacy even works.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:10 AM
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We have nuclear weapons and people with power, money, and influence pretend to listen to Newt Gingrich.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:13 AM
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To be fair, we can't nuke Gingrich because of the collateral damage.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:14 AM
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but my God how do people think diplomacy even works.

TRANSPARENCY IS THE BEST DISINFECTANT

CHIMPEACH THE CHIMPEROR


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:14 AM
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One of the truly wingnutty things I've heard recently although I haven't seen it on the internets is that Syria's use of chemical weapons proves that Bush was right about Iraq's WMDs which were hidden in Syria a decade back and this is the stuff that Assad is using now. Never mind that the shelf life of the stuff is months at best and weeks in the case of the stuff that Iraq was producing back when it was producing the stuff. I don't know about the shelf life of binary chemical weapon formulation of sarin, it would be nice to have those facts to hand even though these people making these arguments seem pretty impervious to facts.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:19 AM
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73: It does?
83: That one's been making the rounds. I think Limbaugh mentioned it.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:21 AM
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It did seem like Obama was reluctant, which made it all the more disheartening when I thought we were going in to Syria. Unlike with Iraq, I couldn't identify obvious motives for the hawks, and surely their influence had to be at an all time low.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:25 AM
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Also, maybe I just wasn't reading the right media sources, but Israel sure seemed uncharacteristically quiet during this entire affair.

I believe Israel was the origin of the 'leaked' intelligence tapes purporting to be the smoking gun proving that Assad's forces fired the chemical weapons. Also, AIPAC has been actively lobbying for action on the hill. Other than that Israel was smart to keep its voice down in public.

This is starting to look like a refreshing and unusual win for democracy.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:25 AM
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It's a rebuilding year. We'll be back in the playoffs soon.


Posted by: Opinionated Democracy | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:28 AM
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You can't say it was the best time you ever had until it's all over.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:29 AM
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Is drama queen an offensive phrase? It was what came to mind when I heard multiple journalists declare Obama's presidency would be destroyed if he lost the vote.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:29 AM
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you should never make an enema from straight espresso.

Yep.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:29 AM
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90: See. I listen.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:38 AM
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89: It certainly has its roots in a sexist stereotype.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:45 AM
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It's certainly anti-royalist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:53 AM
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Oh good. I was worried I was being anti-thespian.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:55 AM
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92: I thought it was a gay stereotype, rather than female stereotype.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:00 AM
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95: That's what I thought as well. I do have it mentally filed as 'not terribly offensive', but I could very well be wrong about that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:02 AM
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79/82 tangentially remind me of John Boehner's attempt to defuse Tea Partier opposition by pledging not to engage in any back room negotiations with Obama over the debt ceiling.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:14 AM
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Agree with 86.2 if it pans out. Now I'm wondering why they didn't start with some kind of ultimatum - even Bush did that.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:20 AM
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Interesting n-gram of "drama queen" vs. "tragedy queen" (which has a very long history). I must admit that I assumed that "drama queen" had a similar long history, but it is only attributed from the last few decades.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:28 AM
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Comedy queen barely gets mentioned at all.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:31 AM
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What about tragical-comical-pastoral?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:32 AM
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I think the whole thing, if it works out, demonstrates why all the procedural mechanisms to delay or prevent war absent an attack or imminent threat of same (both external, ie Security Council, and internal, ie Congress) are so important -- most of the time, delay and appeasement work just fine and are a critical brake on team OMG let's do something. But I agree with Stormcrow or whoever above said that the lesson DC pundits will actually draw is either "the President was tough and got results" or "the President is possibly gay and failed to get results" depending on team affiliation.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:36 AM
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And when Pierce calls Politico "Tiger Beat on the Potomac" it's an insult to tween girls everywhere. Sometimes a term is just so sweet, you have to be willing to bear the collateral damage.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:37 AM
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Tiger Beat is such a cool name. It's a shame the contents of the magazine don't live up to the title.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:40 AM
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Patience rewards the pessimist.

We'll see.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:42 AM
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Tiger Beat is such a cool name. It's a shame the contents of the magazine don't live up to the title.

Indeed.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:42 AM
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105 is certainly correct.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:43 AM
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104: It's a magazine? I thought it was a blog with lots of yelling.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:44 AM
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103: Sometimes a term is just so sweet, you have to be willing to bear the collateral damage.

LIKE "PRECISION STRIKE"!!


Posted by: OPINIONATED NEOCON | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:45 AM
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88 -> 105, 107


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:46 AM
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I don't know how to feel about the Administration's threats on Syria even if everything turns out well (well meaning that no bombs are dropped (by us) and chemical weapons are disposed of). Even if it worked, I'm not crazy about our making credible threats of taking unilateral military action without a reasonably strong prospect of a good outcome -- if we threaten it, we're saying that it would be an acceptable thing to actually do, and increasing the chances that we do it in the future.

On the other hand, threats that work, without our having to kill anyone over it, are a good thing, or at least a better thing than bombs. (jaw-jaw war-war and so on.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:05 AM
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Russia is acting just before the threat was going to be proven completely hollow.

Looking at unrelated and impossible to predict future situations is for chumps and pundit-morons. There's no stare decisis in foreign policy, no precedents mean anything at all, everything gets decided de novo.

Russia wants the arsenal out of (1) control of the Syrian government and/or (2) out of reach of the opponents. The reasons it wants these things have nothing to do with some future crisis unrelated to Syria.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:18 AM
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73: What I'm getting stuck on, even assuming everything turns out well, is that the confusing process boils down to the administration saying "Trust us! If we're saying things you disapprove of, we're probably lying and don't mean to do them at all." And, eh, maybe you have to do that sometimes. But it's not a trust-inspiring method of getting results.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:29 AM
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Russia wants the arsenal out of (1) control of the Syrian government and/or (2) out of reach of the opponents.

Can't fault them on that then.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:31 AM
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I don't get 113. Isn't the administration just being the bad cop? I don't get where we're supposed to infer that the threats are empty. (I suppose that's what you're saying makes the process ugly - that the threats aren't empty.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:34 AM
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113: I don't actually think that characterizes it; it is more like "if we have to look like the assholes in order to allow everybody else to take credit for a good outcome, we will happily do that". Which you could argue with, certainly, for the effect it has on your ability to leverage your own popularity and/or power base at future points. But that certainly seems to me like it must be the administration's MO.

So, right, yeah, it is not at all trust-inspiring for us, but might be trust inspiring for people whom the administration might enable to save face or be the hero. Again, I don't know that it's the only way to go about things, or that it's a good way to go about things, even, but it certainly seems to be what has happened more than just this time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:36 AM
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And, of course, whether or not we (which is to say unfogged, or more generally reliably democratic (or leftish leaning) voters) trust this administration on foreign policy means dick-all for anybody.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:37 AM
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115: I guess what I'm thinking is that if Syria had said "Fuck you", and no deal had emerged, either we would have bombed or we wouldn't. If it was a sincere threat, and we had bombed, I would have strongly opposed that action, which means that I oppose the making of the sincere threat. If it was bullshitting that worked, I'm not exactly unhappy about it, but I don't have any way of telling the difference between a sincere threat that worked and bullshit that worked.

(Good cop/bad cop analogy: I suppose I don't have anything against the police scaring suspects, if done responsibly for good reasons. I do strongly oppose cops beating the shit out of suspects. If I look at a cop credibly threatening to beat the shit out of someone to extract a confession, I've got a problem with that even if I'm not sure he means it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:42 AM
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My belief is that the threat was sincere. Less sincere as public opinion became more and more negative, but originally sincere.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:47 AM
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News of the Day, Assad version, via one of the 7-year-olds from next door: there's a guy in Siberia who's killing people by putting poison on them.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:48 AM
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116: I don't strongly disagree with this, but I'm still unhappy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:52 AM
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I think there's approximately 0% chance that it was a bullshit threat. People in the administration, at least a faction, wanted to bomb, and Obama agreed with them. However -- and here's where I do give the President personally a lot of credit -- Obama was smart enough to realize that pushing through a war of choice unilaterally was not a good idea, for both principled and political reasons. Then the politics looked difficult, and then Putin basically unexpectedly came up with a somewhat workable idea that allowed everyone to save face. I'd be willing to bet $100 that this narrative will basically be proven correct whenever they open the archives (except maybe the idea wasn't Putin's - there's a low probability it came from somewhere within the US gov't,though only at the last minute and only after the push for war was well underway).

That's not a story of 11th dimensional chess or a master plan to get things done while pissing off the left. It's the story of a somewhat bumbling, somewhat skillful, but above all extremely cautious President, which is consistent with everything else we know about Obama's governing style. In this case, making the (big) assumption that things turn out OK, we were well served by his caution because it allowed enough time for non-war to happen. But there was no master plan by secret counterintuitive liberal genius Obama.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:58 AM
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121 to 120


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:59 AM
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112.3 is smart, and possibly correct

However, it should not be forgotten that the US and its employers want regime change, have stated publicly that they want regime change in Syria. Russia not so much.

Apparently Assad and Russia think giving up chems, or pretending, or stalling, helps protect Assad and the Alawites. It looks like Assad's Arab enemies agree that this helps him.

It could be that the French think they catch Assad in non-compliance, and then bomb baby bomb.

I have seen no evidence that the Obama administration can think.

Incidentally, a commenter at at an econblog said that American technology has advanced far enough that a couple dozen drones and cruises are guaranteed to take out Assad himself. They won't miss. I don't know if they are quite there yet, but they will be.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:03 AM
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Note that 116 does not need to be predicated on the existence of a secret master plan, any plan whatsoever, or the existence of a stupid chess metaphor that I personally am extremely sick of. If the actual situation was that at every decision point the Administration tried to find the least objectionable solution along all vectors except the one where they don't look terrible, things would probably look about the same from the outside.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:11 AM
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Just curious, if Assad does turn over his chems to the UN, and then Obama says alright no worries much safer now, now we can bomb you to death and attacks...

...will y'all cheer Obama's brilliant maneuver?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:12 AM
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125 cont'd: assuming, of course, that you believe that important members of the administration themselves believe that bombing Syria for no obvious reason and to no obvious end is not itself the most desirable possible outcome, which is apparently quite a ways further than many people are willing to go.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:13 AM
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If the Russian proposal ends up being embodied in a UNSC resolution -- which seems likely right now, I think -- then one would expect Russia to make sure that unilateral punishment for suspected violations is foreclosed (to the extent you can write things that way in diplospeak.) They presumably learned something about credibility from the Libya thing.

Faced with the specter of Congressional rejection, this is the best France and the US can do.

Regime change advocates aren't going to shut up, but their best chance for superpower intervention has come and gone, mortally wounded by Parliament, finished off by Obama-hatred among the TP.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:15 AM
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I don't have a problem threatening bombing now and then, but if it can't be done through some sort of legitimate international body then I'm against it. If we could have gotten NATO on board for the threat and it'd lead to Syria backing down an a UNSC resolution, then that'd be great. But just like it's good if you can't just go using chemical weapons, you also shouldn't just be able to bomb some other country because you feel like it.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:25 AM
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I think the whole narrative of "Obama is lying about his [non liberal] intentions -- but ultimately for the good of liberals!" is basically incorrect, here and elsewhere. In this particular instance, I think you can basically take the administrations statements and positions at face value. As I say, it's lucky that we have a cautious centrist in charge, who is reasonably willing to respond to events on the ground, instead of John McCain. But I do think the administration generally, and Obama personally were fine with bombing, wanted it to happen, were prepared to expend significant political capital (more than they'd initially anticipated) and were taken by surprise by both the domestic level of opposition to bombing and Putin's eventual face-saving position.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:25 AM
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If you don't understand who Obama is politically at this late date, not sure what to say. He is a center-right Clinton/Rubin Democrat, which basically means an Eisenhower Republican. That is who he is and what he believes. He dislikes the left and believes strongly in establishment centrist governance but unlike some other recent Presidents is pretty competent about executing it. In this case, that means he A) wanted to bomb Syria, B) post-Libya felt that it would be helpful to have Congress aboard for an intervention that could escalate. He expected Congress to approve bombing, but hadn't really thought things out very well and now he's taking a loss. He didn't want or expect to take this loss and it's harming him politically, no three-dimensional chess there.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:30 AM
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Waited a while to hit post on 131 and then Halford made me look foolish by completely pwning it in 130. Anyway, I would just like to sign on with 130.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:31 AM
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130 and 131 seem pretty accurate to me. At which point, while the Syria thing appears to be resolving as well as could be hoped, I still really dislike our policies.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:33 AM
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As ever, I'm quite confident that anyone who says they know what this president (or really any president during his term of office) does or doesn't want is completely full of shit. That said, I'm also confident that the eleventy-billion dimensional chess nonsense is just that: nonsense. Obama erred with his red line comment, and Kerry is every bit the fatuous yutz that he's always seemed. If I had to lay odds, I'd say the smart money is on the administration lucking into a non-terrible outcome in this case. Also, I think 102 and 112.3 are both right.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:33 AM
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It's harming him politically with whom?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:33 AM
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Agree with 131 in its entirety. The only quibble is that I'm still not sure of the extent of the political harm to Obama, my guess is not much of this is the end of the issue, but I could be totally wrong.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:34 AM
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"Completely full of shit" is too strong. "As likely wrong as right" is more accurate.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:35 AM
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130 et seq., and of course my own comments parsing out what they really believe, are uninformed nonsense, naturally. But definitely, we should judge this administration on what we believe their true feelings to be, instead of what outcomes result. Because, you know, we know Obama, and that's both possible and relevant.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:35 AM
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And now, I should add that I wrote 134 without seeing 131, which I think is fair enough though too rigid with its categories. Calling Obama an "Eisenhower Republican" or a "Clinton Democrat" seems to obscure as much as it reveals.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:38 AM
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He's actually just playing one dimensional chess. It's basically ants on a log.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:40 AM
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But definitely, we should judge this administration on what we believe their true feelings to be, instead of what outcomes result.

There's 'what we believe their true feelings to be' and 'what they explicitly say they're willing to do'. Where I'm having trouble with the administration is their having explicitly stated willingness to bomb Syria without the approval of the UN; I would find that forgivable if I believed that it was bullshit, but I don't. It's good that the actual bombing seems to have been averted in this case, but I'm still unhappy about the willingness and what it implies for future cases.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:41 AM
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138: as much as people will call you a lapdog of the warmongers, I think your point is important. The idea that anyone knows what a president wants or is thinking in a given moment is almost entirely a byproduct of a journalism culture that fetishizes process stories and its own ability to manufacture narratives that ostensibly have causative weight.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:42 AM
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Judging solely by outcomes seems to grant the assumption of eleventy mensional chess.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:46 AM
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Further to 142: in fairness, it's not just a byproduct of our journalism culture, it's a byproduct of our print and pixels culture. A narrator's authority derives in part from her ability to convince readers that the constructed narrative is authoritative. This is as true for historians, for instance, as it is for reporters or bloggers.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:47 AM
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143: I flipflop on that. Or, actually, I hold (consistent) bad outcomes against the decisionmaker unless I see a clear causal path from something that wasn't the decisionmaker's fault to the bad outcome, but I don't give credit for good outcomes unless I see the clear causal path from the decisionmaker to the outcome. Muddy cases, I call against the decisionmaker whether positive or negative.

Give me a couple of minutes and I'll defend this as rational.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:49 AM
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Political harm to Obama would be the assumption that having twisted Democratic arms and failed on this, he has less scope to do so on other issues. The 'spending political capital' model. I'm actually not sure that holds very generally, but I have to say I am very happy about the speculation that his defeat here means that he won't be able to jam Larry Summers down everyone's throat as the next Federal Reserve chair, which Obama and his economic team clearly want to do but no one in Congress is up for.

On the more general question of inferring from statements, actions and consequences to intentions -- this is a general one with all human interaction. It is especially difficult with heads of giant complicated organizations, but it seems to me that it's still pretty much the only game in town unless you want to A) stop talking about high-level political actors completely, which is incompatible with blogging, or B) adopt the ludicrous alternative of trying to build up a narrative from consequences alone. Hitler probably didn't mean to create the state of Israel but he did.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:49 AM
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I agree with 138 in the abstract, but in the context of this particular discussion I think it's basically either misleading or meaningless. Sure, we can't know exactly ever what a President "really" does or doesn't want. I agree with that. But what we can know is what their stated policy positions and apparent actions would lead to, and in this case I think it's more than fair to conclude that Obama "wanted" to bomb Syria in the sense of taking meaningful, obvious, demonstrable steps towards that goal, and then retreated from it in the face of a plan from a foreign government and domestic opposition. If you want to praise him for at least not bull-headedly pushing for war despite that plan and opposition, I'm with you. If you want to get mad at the administration for needlessly pushing bombing, and are worried that this will likely be there response to other events in the future, I'm also with you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:51 AM
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147: Yep. That's right about where I am, other than that I would have made a different choice about how to spell 'there' in the final sentence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:53 AM
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142: yep. And obviously it's possible that they're world historical bumblers who keep getting bailed out by Putins ex Machina, but since there is absolutely no way to disambiguate between that and the situation where they're basically competent diplomats who got a result that they're basically happy with, perhaps looking at what actually ends up happening in these situations is likely to be more fruitful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:53 AM
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I was really responding to 142, but I guess it works for 138 as well. I don't think the absence of a doorway into a President's innermost heart means that we can't judge him for his publicly-stated positions, and I especially don't think that it's smart to assume that the publicly-stated positions are contrary to what we'd find if we opened the door into his innermost heart. Who cares? But we can usefully judge the administration on what it was obviously and openly trying to do until about 24 hours ago.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:54 AM
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If this was the desired goal of the liberal internationalists in the administration it seems to suggest they played Cameron for a chump.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:56 AM
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Putins ex Machina

That should be the caption on those shirtless pics of him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:56 AM
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Lacking all insight into the psychologies of politicians -- and capable of admitting it -- I don't know or care what Obama really wants from Congress. As he has asked for authority to bomb Syria, I assume that he wants such authority, and I go from there.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:58 AM
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147 -- I'd rather go with 'felt he had to bomb Syria' than 'wanted to bomb Syria' -- I think the red line comment was designed, when made, to avert involvement in the civil war. Only after Syria (or whoever) did what they did, did the red line comment become a trap. Which it was in context of Village warmongery. Which, by all rights, is the loser here (along with the Syrian opposition, now getting a good idea what the underside of a bus looks like).

As for the political cost, obviously PGD has a seat way closer to the action than I do. I wonder, though, if he isn't infected with some Villager disease on this. How unwilling, really, are any Senate Dems going to be to trade votes with the Admin on various issues? I frankly doubt that there's actually any change at all.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:58 AM
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I just worry that this isn't the end of it. Say Assad hands over the chemical weapons, things continue to go bad for him, and he starts mass executions in villages that are well-publicized. I think this round of events makes it far harder to stay out.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:03 AM
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"harder for the US to stay out."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:03 AM
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152. That has been owned.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:04 AM
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You think that a weapons inspection headed by Russia, run through the United Nations, makes it more difficult for the United States to resist bombing Syria? Could you flesh that out a bit, Robert Halford?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:05 AM
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Calling Obama an "Eisenhower Republican" or a "Clinton Democrat" seems to obscure as much as it reveals.

Well, 'Eisenhower Republican' is just a vague handwaving term for some version of mid-century centrist conservatism that has disappeared from the Republican party. But 'Clinton Democrat' has a pretty specific meaning in this case given that Obama has brought the entire Clinton/Rubin crowd into his Administration and has if anything gotten closer and closer to them as he stays more in office.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:07 AM
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Sure, in the face of another atrocity committed by Assad, I think we may now have positioned ourselves as "a powerful nation willing to intervene militarily to prevent atrocities committed by Assad" and that therefore there will be increased international, and maybe even domestic (by which I mean within DC) pressure to intervene militarily and to openly take sides in the Syrian civil war. I could be totally wrong. Maybe all of this will lead to peace talks and an end to the civil war. Who knows. But that's my fear.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:08 AM
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160: You think that a weapons inspection, pursuant to which Assad hands over his chemical weapons to a U.N. inspector, makes it more likely that Assad will use his chemical weapons again (assuming that he did use them in the first place)? And then we are more likely to get involved in the Syrian civil war than if we simply bombed them right now?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:16 AM
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No, I was thinking of the use of non-chemical weapons by Assad, and I don't think that we're more likely to get involved in the Syrian war now than we would be if we bombed now. The fear is that we're now more likely to get involved in Syria than we would have been had the Obama administration not threatened military intervention in the first place.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:18 AM
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As for the political cost, obviously PGD has a seat way closer to the action than I do. I wonder, though, if he isn't infected with some Villager disease on this. How unwilling, really, are any Senate Dems going to be to trade votes with the Admin on various issues? I frankly doubt that there's actually any change at all.

I don't especially think of myself as a 'villager' since I am a marginal member of a particular powerless and ineffectual political tribe. But in general yes, I agree that the 'spending political capital' model is an inside-the-beltway process trope that is way overused. Part of this is hopeful wishful thinking on the Larry Summers nomination though -- that really is a pure favor the President is asking, since really no one else wants to deal with the baggage, so who knows?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:18 AM
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163: It just sounds like so much bullshit, doesn't it?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:19 AM
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160 -- I do think you're wrong. The red line trap is done, and the warmongers have been surprised by the domestic opposition. I think intervention in the civil war is less likely now than at any time since the red line remark was made. It would take an intentional act directed at the US on the part of Syria to get us in now.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:20 AM
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162: Right, we are more likely to get involved in a war given that the president is pushing us to get involved in a war. That's some helpful analysis your fear provided.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:21 AM
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165 -- I hope you're right, and you may very well be right, but am not totally convinced. Say the civil war gets even worse and Assad starts massacring villages, and that's showing up on the nightly news. Why isn't the narrative "wussy Obama's wussy failure to bomb when he could have caused this dead baby. Let's do the job we should have done months ago"?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:23 AM
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167: Because the public has seen a ton of dead baby coverage recently and their opposition to involvement is only hardening as it becomes clear that there is no direct U.S. security interest


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:25 AM
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OK. I certainly agree with the public! And I hope you're all right.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:27 AM
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167 -- Oh, the people who have been wanting to get involved all along aren't going to relent, that's for sure. But the domestic opposition to the bombing -- even the little pinprick ineffectual bombing they were selling -- isn't going to go away because Assad is killing foreigners. The opposition is still pretty unattractive. The constituency for putting them in power is vocal but quite small, and I just can't see Boehner rounding up the votes to let Obama install a coalition that includes AQ and cannibals in Damascus.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:29 AM
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(That is, I think a genuinely humanitarian intervention less likely in Syria than in Rwanda)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:32 AM
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Hamsher with links to Nation and NYT if you can't trust her

Lunch between Barack Obama and Democrats on the Hill just broke up. Apparently Obama is asking for an Authorization for Use of Military Force on Syria in order to maintain a credible threat.

It is likely that Obama will use his speech to the nation tonight to make his case for this backdoor AUMF.

The New York Times reports that a new bill is being drafted in consultation with the White House, which calls for a UN Security Council resolution condemning Assad for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, deadlines for establishing UN control of the arsenal, and an authorization for the use of military force if they did not.

The Russians have apparently rejected a French draft that authorized the use of military force, saying it was unacceptable, so apparently it's a bill that is being set up to fail -- and give Obama the authorization he wants by default.

Rep. Alan Grayson is opposed to such a bill.

Nah, the bloodthirsty fucker really does wants to bomb and kill.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 12:06 PM
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which calls for a UN Security Council resolution condemning Assad for the use of chemical weapons in Syria

If, as some of us think, it was the rebels with materials provided by Bandar bin Sultan, it would be very important to settle the "history," get a UN-sanctioned coverup.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 12:10 PM
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Intercepts caught Assad rejecting requests to use chemical weapons, German paper says

Syrian President Bashar Assad has repeatedly rejected requests from his field commanders for approval to use chemical weapons, according to a report this weekend in a German newspaper.

The report in Bild am Sonntag, which is a widely read and influential national Sunday newspaper, reported that the head of the German Foreign Intelligence agency, Gerhard Schindler, last week told a select group of German lawmakers that intercepted communications had convinced German intelligence officials that Assad did not order or approve what is believed to be a sarin gas attack on Aug. 21 that killed hundreds of people in Damascus' eastern suburbs.

It is interesting how many people, even though the incentives to lie and recent history of lying are quite obvious, still are buying into this "false flag" operation.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 12:16 PM
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Last one for a while

Russia who have some evidence of their own (and Iran, who warned the Americans last year that the Rebels had chems) has always wanted to get the incident into open discussion in the UNSC.

It was the US who refused to present their evidence to the UNSC, and has, and continues to seek a Congressional AUMF before they get a UNSC resolution.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 12:25 PM
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It is interesting how many people, even though the incentives to lie and recent history of lying are quite obvious, still are buying into this "false flag" operation.

Bob, your theory is directly contradicted by the sources you cite, not for the first time. The Bild am Sonntag story doesn't claim it was a false flag operation. To the contrary, it says that Assad's commanders have been pleading with him for months for permission to use chemical weapons, and Assad consistently turned them down. German intelligence concluded -- again, this is according to BamS, which has a checkered relationship journalistic integrity -- that Assad had probably not approved the strikes conducted by the Syrian military.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 12:54 PM
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125: or the existence of a stupid chess metaphor that I personally am extremely sick of

This. For Gawd's sake, when the fucking fuck hasn't plain old "simple" diplomacy involved a host of interested parties, front channels and back channels to friends, enemies, domestic supporters and opponents alike and political calculations? All in the face of many unknown unknowns. A bunch of political actors surfing the probability waves (when you break the analogy ban go big and stupid).

I viscerally hate half the comments since ~111, but I don't know which half.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 12:57 PM
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177.last: Well, actually I know of some of them.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 12:59 PM
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I like to imagine some of Halford's comments, like 169, in the voice of the bird T-Rex from Dinosaur Comics.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 12:59 PM
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I guess I chose the wrong day to have my come to Jesus meeting with the doctor on blood pressure medicine (true fact).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 1:01 PM
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Don't let your doctor skip his blood pressure medicine. If he gets sick, your continuity of care will suffer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 1:02 PM
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Too late, I have a prescription now. Defeated.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 1:06 PM
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Securing Syria's Chems

AP article. Take at least a year, under safe conditions. Libya only managed to destroy 54% before the rebellion forced the UN out. Wait, where's the rest now?

Rumor at Lang's place is that Israel and Saudi Arabia are going to stage another event.

They know they can get away with it. We are not going to war against those two, so we will give them Syria, and then Iran.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 1:09 PM
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We're really generous.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 1:21 PM
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184: Obama and the Democrats would do what to avoid a repeat of the 70s gas lines, 15% inflation, 20% unemployment...in the next couple years? 1980 redux.

What would you do to keep Rand Paul/Ted Cruz out of the White House in 2016?

Obama is making Carter look great.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 1:35 PM
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What would you do to keep Rand Paul/Ted Cruz out of the White House in 2016?

Nothing, if they promised to pull the troops and the money didn't somehow manage to keep them off the ticket.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 3:08 PM
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The last thing I want is US military involvement in Syria, but I do have to admit that a fuller discussion of the refugee crisis in the region as a whole has me viewing the situation much more soberly. It's .. frustrating that Obama focused so exclusively on the use of chemical weapons, when the humanitarian case for militarily-backed intervention is so much stronger.

All of which is a segue to an interview with Deborah Amos (of NPR) on Bill Moyers' show recently. The host, sitting in for Moyers, is Phil Donahue.

http://billmoyers.com/segment/deborah-amos-on-understanding-syria/

About 20 minutes long. Amos has been reporting from the region for a while now, and she has a great deal more to relate than what she does in her brief segments on NPR. (Would that NPR let her do it.)

I came out of it realizing that this cannot go on. The entire region is getting closer to collapse. Military intervention is not ideal, no kidding, not remotely, but the muttering one hears about how it's none of anyone else's business doesn't really fly for me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:27 PM
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And actually I shouldn't have framed that as a humanitarian case: it's actually that neighboring states are becoming dysfunctional, for sheer overload of scant resources.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 6:56 PM
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Here's a solution: If you can provide some marginally reasonable proof that you're from Syria and want to leave, you can come to the United States. We'll even buy you a free plane ticket for 1/100th the cost of the bombing mission, and you can have a house in Detroit. Done and done.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:14 PM
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I don't think you're actually in charge of that, Halford.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:17 PM
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As I keep saying, that's the problem.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:18 PM
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for sheer overload of scant resources

I don't think I could write better nonsense if I tried. Could you?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:18 PM
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I've heard that suggested for real. Not the Detroit bit.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:22 PM
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193 to 189.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:24 PM
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Why is Obama still saber-rattling? I'm confused. Maybe because of being drunk.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 7:58 PM
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It's so tempting to sleep late tomorrow but for some reason I scheduled office hours? I don't even know what one does in office hours.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:06 PM
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Could you just put your head on your desk and nap?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 8:13 PM
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I'm not sure if any of you are following the Colorado recall news. I was, as I've said, never optimistic about the fate of increased gun regulations in the near term. I suspect that what's happening in CO, though, will mean that what little progress has been made at the national level will almost certainly be reversed over the next few years. The Democratic Party will decide that the issue isn't worth the risk.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:47 PM
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I was following it so little that I was totally unaware it existed until just now. I'm not at all surprised that it turned out the way it did, though. I've been pretty sure from the beginning that this whole national conversation on gun control was ultimately going to be a bust.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:51 PM
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198 And they're right. You can't pass the kind of gun control that would make a real difference and trying only hurts the dems among the swingers that matter.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:55 PM
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200: Yup. As I've said before, there's just an unbridgeable cultural divide there.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:56 PM
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196 Didn't you TA? My impression was that the only difference was that you're in your office rather than a cafe.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 9:58 PM
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199: right, me too. The West is the Democrats' target for growth, and gun laws aren't popular in the region.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:06 PM
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Glad we're all on the same page, then.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:08 PM
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Given that you're probably packing heat, I'm not going to argue with you.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:10 PM
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Damn straight.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:11 PM
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The problem is the NRA. Though over the last 30 years it has become an entirely evil organization, run by gun companies to maximize the amount of gun sales to whoever wants to buy guns, it continues to be the only gun rights organization that anyone listens to. Maybe progress could be made toward gun safety if a new organization appeared to fill the role the NRA used to fill, concerned with things like safety and encouraging gun owners to be certified as responsible, instead of the NRA's current priorities which are generally oriented around making sure lots of people get murdered.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:17 PM
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They could call it G Street.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:34 PM
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Moving from firearms to alcohol, I doubt it has any actual medicinal value, but I'm finding whiskey is helping me enormously in coping with the terrible cold I have.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:47 PM
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So that leaves me free to focus my worrying on all my other problems, at least.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:49 PM
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Sorry I've been such a downer lately, guys. I've been having kind of a hard time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 10:58 PM
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I hope you're taking care of yourself, teo.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:07 PM
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I guess I am. I'm carrying on with my life as normal, at least.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:09 PM
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And thanks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:09 PM
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Rather than continue to disrupt threads with this stuff, I wrote a post on my personal blog discussing my life and feelings, for anyone who's interested.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-13 11:59 PM
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sorry to hear it, teo. hope you feel better soon.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:04 AM
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Thanks, text. I'm sure I will.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:04 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:17 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:38 AM
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209. This is well known to be the case. Best drunk hot with lemon juice and honey.

Vaguely related encounter the other day:

Taxi driver: Sorry, I've got a terrible cold, couldn't sleep at all last night.

Me: *sympathetic noises*

Taxi driver: I'm going to buy some brandy, that'll clear it up.

Me: It'll certainly make you feel better.

Taxi driver: I can only get a miniature though, cos I'm a Muslim.

Me: Oh. Right.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:11 AM
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209: I have one too. Sorry, teo, you've probably caught mine.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:20 AM
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You can't pass the kind of gun control that would make a real difference and trying only hurts the dems among the swingers that matter.

Yup. If well-funded gun-control advocates can't beat the NRA in a state legislative district that experienced a horrific mass shooting 14 months ago, you really can't hold out much hope for political change on the issue. Maybe a generation or two from now, cohort effects will start to make themselves felt (gun ownership is in long-term decline). But I think for the foreseeable future, the legal environment will become less, not more restrictive of firearms.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:45 AM
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222: [Sigh.] Yeah, pretty much.

In the alternative, it might be possible to reduce the frequency and/or severity of crazy-person-with-a-firearm rampages by percolating through the atmosphere of the "gun guys"* a new, esprit de corps-esque ethos of responsibility, care and safety with a concomitant obligation to manage your paranoid gun-brandishing neighbor/son-in-law/self, but I doubt it.

* Apropos: Fuck. You. I hate the pet name that those guys have self-bestowed almost as much as I hate the names that the cadres of the nerd army coin for their fetishes fandoms.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:20 AM
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There is a big problem with the popular prevailing narrative as to why Assad will surrender his chems.

You cannot credibly say both that

a) Obama was constrained by needing an authorization from Congress, an attack was impossible because unpopular

b) Assad was confronted and his decision determined by a credible threat of force

One of these must be untrue.

Assad/Putin/Lavrov can read, watch, and count as well as the rest of us, and the votes for an AUMF were never there, and an AUMF became less likely over time.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:25 AM
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an attack was impossible because unpopular

I don't recall anyone here making that claim. Maybe you're confusing us with one of the voices in your head.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:29 AM
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a new, esprit de corps-esque ethos of responsibility, care and safety with a concomitant obligation to manage your paranoid gun-brandishing neighbor/son-in-law/self

To the contrary, there is a pervasive "no true Scotsman" ethos among gun enthusiasts.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:42 AM
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History teaches us that the most reliable way to get gun control passed in this country is for Black people to ostentatiously arm themselves.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:44 AM
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At the mayoral candidate forum last night, one candidate complained about how he's being deprived of his constitutional rights because as a registered medical marijuana user he's not allowed to own any guns. This combination looked a few years ago like it might present wedge opportunities, but in a political showdown the gun people would probably win even this one hands down.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:46 AM
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I don't know. Those I know with money buy way to many different guns to fill that stereotype. Just to be polite, I find myself saying things like, "Oh, yes, I can see why you'd want the same style gun in three different calibers."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:47 AM
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229 to 226.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:47 AM
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229: "It's good that you own all those guns, Mr. Firearms Enthusiast. It's a good thing."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:52 AM
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re: 229

To be honest, that's more of a general bloke thing than a gun-nut thing. Until recently I owned several examples for each major style of camera. I have friends who have guitar collections that run well into double figures.

'Yeah, I can totally see why that small-bodied 12th fret parlour is totally different to that other small-bodied 12th fret parlour.'


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:59 AM
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I think this is true even after the guy's answers to every question about economic development was that we should be pursuing a hemp economy. You can make clothes, houses, plastics, all sorts of things from hemp, and if we grew enough of it, untold new uses would emerge.

He didn't say whether you could make guns out of it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:02 AM
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232: You're right that it isn't just guns. Guns are probably worse then cameras but at least they have more dignity than collecting Star Wars figures or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:03 AM
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He didn't say whether you could make guns out of it.

Probably the stock could be hemp.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:04 AM
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There are multiple subsets of the gun lobby. Are they really that united?

Hunters
Psychopaths
Collectors of vintage guns
Collectors of brand-new guns (this is a category that didn't exist a few years ago)
People who are in it as a sport, going to the gun range and improving their aim
People who keep one or more guns for use in their job as a criminal
People who keep one or more guns for self-defense and don't fetishize them (generally this means Korean shop-owners in articles in the right-wing media)


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:07 AM
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Some hunters collect psychopaths.


Posted by: OPINIONATED FRANK "THE PUNISHER" CASTLE | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:10 AM
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225: "unpopular" of course means "can't be passed by Congress"

Good. I prefer the people who say that Obama, having his AUMF rejected resoundingly by both Houses of Congress, would have attacked anyway, in complete contempt of Congress, UNSC, and World opinion. Even though Obama himself stated that he thought it would be an impeachable offense.

We'll call that "the lawless bloodthirsty dictator" faction. Glad knecht is over there

I tend to assign the "crazy man" hypothesis a very low probability right now, subject to change. 10%

There really was not much of a credible threat of force.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:14 AM
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Since there was no credible threat of force, that means b) above is untrue.

Assad is getting rid of his chems for reasons not directly connected to Obama's bluster and febrile pleadings.

What might be those reasons?

1) He doesn't need them to stay in power
2) They are a PITA to store and guard
3) Since there are only two adequate incineration facilities (US & USSR) he will need int'l help to destroy them

and

4) Because the Rebels/Saudis are using chemical weapons and Assad doesn't want to be falsely accused again.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:21 AM
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bob, you should try to find something to collect. Nice hobby. Calming.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:21 AM
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226: Indeed. Nancy Lanza is a case in point, unfortunately.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:25 AM
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Even though Obama himself stated that he thought it would be an impeachable offense.

Down here on the physical plane of existence, Obama said no such thing. In fact, he specifically said the opposite: that the President is constitutionally authorized to take such action without Congressional approval. (Whether or not that is true as a legal matter I am not qualified to say. As a practical matter, past presidents have asserted the same authority and repeatedly acted on it, so I guess that makes every president since Truman a lawless bloodthirsty dictator in bob-world.)


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:27 AM
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Don't forget about FDR, dipping his toe into the Battle of the Atlantic ahead of the bell.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:30 AM
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so I guess that makes every president since Truman a lawless bloodthirsty dictator in bob-world.

Well, duh-uh. Of course Obama is the worst because he's from Hawaii.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:32 AM
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You mean every President since Adams engaged in the Quasi War with France?

I've always thought people read way too much into the CiC clause, as Art. 1 has a whole lot of military related responsibilities. But, the history is what the history is, and Congress has pretty much gone along with the Executive on this stuff.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:57 AM
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(Oh, I see that Congress did pass an AUMF on July 7, 1798. Learn something every day.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:59 AM
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"Of course Obama is the worst because he's from Hawaii."

No, Clinton is the worst because he had a cat rather than a dog.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:09 AM
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Clinton got a dog eventually.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:11 AM
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198, 200 etc. on the Colorado recall election over gun control laws:

I'm not sure those results are generalizable. I was surprised to read that turn-out was incredibly low in part because people had to actively seek ballots:

The particulars of Tuesday's elections prompted some gun-control advocates to argue that the results shouldn't be over-read. For one thing, voters didn't receive mail ballots automatically, a substantial change of protocol in a state where the majority of voters cast their votes via mail.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:06 AM
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