Rob Douglas: Stay out of Syria

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Rob Douglas

Rob Douglas' column appears Fridays in the Steamboat Today. He can be reached at rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Douglas here.

— On Wednesday, Americans across the globe will pause in prayer and reflection on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks conducted inside the United States by al-Qaida.

During those 12 years, the U.S. has engaged in hot and cold wars, overtly and covertly, against or within dozens of countries around the world. The global war on terror has been conducted using uniformed military forces, special operations forces, covert operatives, militarized drone aircraft and cyber warfare.

This world war is being fought almost exclusively by the U.S. While other countries pay lip service to the need to combat terrorists and the countries that give them shelter, that is almost all they pay.

As our allies shirk their responsibilities, the U.S. bears the financial burden of nonstop war. More important, it is Americans who increasingly pay the human cost of war with their lives or with horrific injuries that maim the body and mind.

Actually, it’s just a tiny fraction of Americans. Currently, in a nation of 316 million, less than 0.5 percent of the populace have the courage and patriotism to step forward and wear the uniform of their country.

Personally, I am ashamed that I never volunteered to serve the way my grandfather and father did in World Wars I and II, respectively. While I can’t turn back the calendar and right that wrong, I can speak out in opposition to the U.S. entering yet another war — the civil war in Syria.

I can speak out in opposition to entering a war that President Barack Obama wouldn’t consider entering if American families had conscripted children at risk. If they did, those families would take to the streets to oppose a proxy war with Iran in Syria in the same way families of draftees eventually opposed fighting a proxy war with the then-Soviet Union in Vietnam.

I can speak out in opposition to a president who bluffed by drawing a “red line” against the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons but, now that the line has been crossed, intends to put the U.S. military in harm’s way to “punish” the regime instead of destroying it and the chemical weapons.

I can speak out in opposition to Secretary of State John Kerry who foolishly equates 1,000 deaths by “chemical warfare” to the Holocaust while simultaneously ignoring that the president he serves didn’t lift a finger while more than 100,000 Syrians were slaughtered by “conventional warfare.”

I can speak out in opposition to a secretary of state who is destroying the credibility of the U.S. by claiming that launching hundreds of missiles and bombs into a sovereign country is not conducting war “in the classic sense” because there wouldn’t be “boots on the ground.”

Finally, I can speak out in opposition to the president’s plan to enter Syria’s civil war because his rationale doesn’t satisfy the Powell Doctrine. The Powell Doctrine is a series of criteria that then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell articulated as the basis for the U.S. going to war with Iraq in 1991 during the Gulf War.

While there have been various formulations of the Powell Doctrine, the following criteria are generally accepted, and arguably, the president’s plan doesn’t satisfy any of them.

1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?

2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?

3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?

4. Have all other nonviolent policy means been fully exhausted?

5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?

6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?

7. Is the action supported by the American people?

8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

Next week, our elected representatives in Washington, D.C., will vote on Obama’s request for congressional authorization to use military force against Syria. As Americans, whether we have a family member in the military or not, each of us should decide if this is the correct use of our military, and we should make that decision known to our elected representatives before they vote.

It’s the least we can do for those who volunteer to risk their lives for us.

To reach Rob Douglas, email rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.

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Comments

Harvey Lyon 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Rob,

I'm surprised that others have yet to comment. Perhaps this is proof that this is a decision complicated by factors that should be unrelated.

I believe:

We should not be involved in Syria's Civil War.

We should make sure that the war remains inside Syria and that chemical, biological or nuclear weapons are not allowed to be used.

We should not allow the fact that they are in a civil war to afford protection for those that violate those rules.

I further believe that we have more than enough intelligent and well educated/trained people, with the appropriate equipment, to execute such a mission and I further believe that we have more than enough low key ways to deal with any "reprisals" Mr Assad or his cronies may wish to take. It is about as risk free as these sorts of things can be. I also believe that we have plenty of resources to squash like a bug any of the "opposition" that wishes to use the civil war to further radical islam and terriorism.

I was reading the Moscow Newspapers and they are telling their people that there are absolutely no indicators that Assad used chemical weapons. Clearly yellow press that the majority of Russians will figure out. Likewise I am absolutely positive that much of the "proof" is as a result of human intelligence that would be quickly terminated if the nitty gritty details were made public.

While this can be called "an act of war" because it crosses international boundaries, its more of a police action. In fact, its a great "training" exercise that the Saudis have offered to fund. As you know, full on coordinated joint training exercises have been sharply curtailed by sequestration.

I don't often agree with President Obama's policies or opinions. But is this case he and Secretary Kerry are correct.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Rob, We have a real conundrum here. Unfortunately, it looks like Assad called Obama's bluff. Our president can stand in front of folks in Sweden and say "he" did not draw the red line. I think it looks like to me he did draw the red line. Here is his quote from 2012. "A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized," Obama said in August 2012. "That would change my calculus." My dad told me I should never issue a threat I can't back up. If indeed Assad issued the order for the use of chemical weapons, (hopefully our intel on this is correct) then our president has been backed into a corner. There is no good choice here. Either he orders a meaningful and most likely violent response that includes collateral damage to innocents or he continues to give meaningless speeches which accomplish nothing. Doing nothing could mean the US be prepared for further attacks by the emboldened terrorists and more thumbs in our eye from Iran, North Korea, Russia, China. Israel has had no problem completing surgical strikes against Assad and Syria and to date there has been no reprisals by Assad against Israel. From a cynical perspective (as Senator Obama had a habit of voting present) wouldn't it be appropriate for congress to vote present on this issue.

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Harvey Lyon 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Rob,

Just to give you an idea of how big of a threat we take Syria. We sent 4 destroyers, not cruisers, but destroyers....and two were already in the neighborhood. We moved an aircraft carrier from the Gulf to the Red Sea where it can still reach everywhere necessary but not be exposed to Iran's dinky missles. We brought a Marine carrying ship closer in case an Embassy or something needs help. One ship had its deployment extended, the rest are just routine positioning.

And despite Iran's boasts, they're not a concern either, for power projection. They could, and have, shoot a tanker with a missle. But then they'd lose their Navy and all shore launching stations and truthfully, the last time they did this the ship's Master didn't even realize he had been hit by a missle!. Thats why we don't wish them to get nuclear weapons.

And the Russians have a naval base in Syria. They have no more interest in the chemical weapons falling into the wrong hands than we do....they have their radical islam problems as well and are more exposed than we are as one can drive from Syria to Russia. I'm sure they would be happy to go over and guard those weapons if it became necessary.

As military operations go, a strike on Assad is no biggie. And I personally believe it to be a strike on Assad, not Syria......lots of good folks in Syria.

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jerry carlton 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Getting involved will provide the same wonderful results that were achieved in Iraq by the U.S. What is the hysteria over chemical weapons? They kill indescrimentaly just like bombs or artillery.

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Harvey Lyon 10 months, 3 weeks ago

And, having "lived" there for 12 of my 22 years in the Navy, I can tell you there is but one solution to the difficulties in the middle east.

They need to read, re-read and read again the US Declaration of Independance, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Until there comes a time that the average middle east muslim exhibits a true inherent belief in the freedom of religion, the equality of both the sexes and races and that all men are created equal then peace and prosperity will need to be enforced with a stick.

You have to be taught to hate and one doesn't give up their parent's views quickly. Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Kuwait and (to a lesser extent) Bahrain are making great strides. Iraq will find themselves I'm sure as will Eqypt, Lybia and Afganistan. But it will take time, education, exposure to different points of view and discussion. Gradually folks will find they have more in common than differences. The Internet has done more to change the world in 10 years than probably all the wars to date, the sharing of views and the exposure to different beliefs.

But those that traditionally ruled by dictatorship or autocracy will find it hard to give up power. And civil wars will continue to happen. But one man pulling a trigger that kills one man, or one man that fires a motar, a howitzer, or drops an bomb that kills 15 to 20 is a far cry from one man that fires a NBC (nuclear, chemical, biological) round and kills many thousands in a manner that is hideous in a world of hideous injuries...is out of line.

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Harvey Lyon 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Jerry, It will take some time for old hates to die and a new Iraq to emerge. But they now have a chance. In fact, if they were not making progress towards a religiously tolerent representative government then they wouldn't be seeing the recent surge in suicide bombers. Those that previously ruled by terror are feeling their grip slipping away....the Iraqies are establishing their own Country, vote by vote....and we know how un-pretty that can be...LOL But it's exciting too. If the average Iraqi citizen's life had not been improved you would have heard about it in the present anti-Bush environment. You don't because, well, there just isn't a story. Hell man......even Vietnam is now pretty much thriving as a healthy Country because we "lost" but "spread the seed of Democracy" that beat out N. Vietnam's communistic intentions. Laos too. In short, we won and I do believe the average Vietnamese would agree. You can even buy Vietnamese Prawns in Safeway!

And artillery is very precise, not at all like chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. Artillery rounds can be targeted to the square meter and the ordnance selected for the desired effect.

While I could give you thousands of pages on how nuclear weapons can be very effective on a tactical level, chemical and biological can not as they rely on winds and illness spreading.

I can't tell you how important it is for you and others to understand the huge difference if you're going to form valid opinions. That said, already you demand of your government that we make "surgical strikes" and use "closely targeted ordinance" to fight our battles. You scream when the house next door, with children and woman in it, are damaged. NBC warfare is the EXACT opposite, designed to be indesciminate and terrifying with incredibly horrible results even in the context of "War". I believe you already know the importance of "targeted" weapons and the "bad" of indiscreminate.

We, as a "civilized" population, can not tolerate their use. Especially when its so easy and relatively and pain free to make this particular statement.

If President Obama had just put a Tomahawk Cruise Missle thru Assads bedroom window on August 21st, as we did with Khadaffi about 20 years ago, it would not be a problem. But he didn't and personally I think this is a good discussion for the US. Are we going to be the leaders for the World, setting the example even though we do and will continue to screw up here and there.....guiding them to religious tolerance, equality of races and sexes, the right for all to succeed or fail based on their own hard work....or are we to be just selfish capitalists looking for profit in everything we do and damn the rest?

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Harvey Lyon 10 months, 3 weeks ago

And, truth be told.....while I am not an Obama fan, I have problems with his leadership skills, his socialistic tendencies, etc.......I do believe that regardless of how "the vote" goes I believe that this is a question that each and every American needs to ask themselves. While nothing's perfect and the US form of Government is the worst...save all the others.....I think, following two lengthy wars where the casualties were/are very well known...a time to reflect.

And while any war, military action, the taking of life, is regretable, I personally am proud of WW1, WW2, Korea, The Cold War, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Nicagua V El Salvador, Lybia, Egypt, Bosnia-Hertzgovina. I believe each and every time the Countries that developed are better off and more in control of their own destiny. I believe that the US made mistakes but in the long term....made a definite positive impact on the good of the World and the human race.

And no where else in the World could "protesters" be able (and wish) to shake the hand of the President and Secretary of State in the Capitol Building...each differing but respecting each others opinions as "Code Red" did with John Kerry the other day.

As ugly as we can be....we are "The Light" that the World looks to. And the ugliness of our politics is actually beauty to many in the World, who crave a "voice" in the way they have to live.

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John St Pierre 10 months, 3 weeks ago

On a positive note.... we can all thank God Cheney is not in office.... we would have already leveled Syria and as a side note invaded Iran " so we can clean out the whole mess"......

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Dan Kuechenmeister 10 months, 3 weeks ago

you are probably a liberal and would never criticize a democrat

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John St Pierre 10 months, 3 weeks ago

well actually.... democrat or Republican or Tea Party freaks.....the FACT(foreign concept of late to all parties) this time around there may be ACTUAL evidence that WMD's exist.... how many did the lying war criminal Cheney con Bush into chasing and find in Iraq????

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Dan Kuechenmeister 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Darn and I thought it was Colin Powell that presented the evidence for WMD in Iraq when we were gathering a coalition of allies. Washington, Feb. 6 2003 (VOA News) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has provided the United Nations with what he calls irrefutable proof that Iraq is continuing to build and hide weapons of mass destruction, while maintaining links to terrorist groups including al-Qaida. Like I said above "hopefully our intel on this is correct". And as I side note - other than your partisan political rant what does Cheney have to do with this article? And Tea Party freaks - really. So nasty this morning

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mark hartless 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The American electorate has given this country over to the most vile, corrupt, hypocritical snakes the world has ever seen.

Your leaders decry war when they are outside the power structure and beat the war drums when they are the chiefs.

They would sell their own birthright for a mess of porridge; worse, they would sell YOURS... and they have done so.

The American people are getting a small portion of what they deserve.

Soon, they will get the main course.

An electorate foolish enough to empower a man like Barack Hussein Obama can not possibly be expected to have the foresight to contemplate consequences in advance, but they WILL feel the pain of their mistake in due time.

You are pawns; and the fact that you are willing pawns makes you fools as well.

Unfortunately for you all, the rest of the world is not populated with fools. It is populated with those who patiently wait for America to over-extend, over commit, over indebt, over threat, over promise and under-deliver itself to the breaking point.

They will not have much longer to wait.

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Scott Wedel 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The comparison with Iraq is silly. No one is talking about an invasion force.

What is being considered is damaging some military bases and residences of the Assad family.

At times the US complains about having to bear the burden of international military operations and, on the other hand, we get upset when any country develops weaponry with any potential to threaten the US military.

A cynical argument can be made that the whole point is that the world didn't care much when the Syrian government killed tens of thousands of people, but using chemical weapons is different and that is what will get a response.

I don't know what is showing more weakness. Obama for asking Congress instead of just doing it and having it over by now. Or congressional Republicans that supported invasion of Iraq with far less evidence of WMD and now are talking about not supporting far smaller military strikes with far stronger evidence of WMD.

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rhys jones 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Sure, let's borrow more money from the Federal Reserve (private banks) so we can bomb somebody new, business as usual, just good training for the boys...

If I could believe the information we're fed, I might sign on. But I worked where it's filtered.

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mark hartless 10 months, 3 weeks ago

At least when the "lying war criminal Cheney" was vice president it cost me $65.00 to fill up my truck. Last week under the current leadership (and I use that term VERY liberally) it cost me $117.00

I'd rather be living under a "profiteering war criminal" than a Nobel Peace Prize-winning buffoon.

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Pat West 10 months, 3 weeks ago

So the President controls the free market price of oil? And inflation over 10-15 years has no effect? Plus, I imagine the mileage you get from that tank has increased as well?

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mark hartless 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey,

Here's an idea:

Maybe, instead of launching expensive missiles that "kill indiscriminately" Obama could instead drop his Nobel PEACE Prize on Bashar Assad

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Dan Kuechenmeister 10 months, 3 weeks ago

John St. Pierre Darn and I thought it was Colin Powell that presented the evidence for WMD in Iraq when we were gathering a coalition of allies. Washington, Feb. 6 2003 (VOA News) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has provided the United Nations with what he calls irrefutable proof that Iraq is continuing to build and hide weapons of mass destruction, while maintaining links to terrorist groups including al-Qaida. Like I said above "hopefully our intel on this is correct". And as I side note - other than your partisan political rant what does Cheney have to do with this article? And Tea Party freaks - really. So nasty this morning

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John St Pierre 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Nothing like feeding on each other.... Colin has stated on many occasions that he regrets that he was conned and lied to when he presented his "facts"....

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Dan Kuechenmeister 10 months, 2 weeks ago

ah yes - good old hindsight - too bad but we have to live in the here and now

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rhys jones 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I love my country, but I hate and fear our government. Democracy, Republic, both are just words, misrepresenting the smoke and mirrors we witness daily. I have no doubt our foreign policy is dictated by the Federal Reserve, for their own private gain, and at the expense of American lives and families, not to mention whoever we kill in their name. The Fed gets what the Fed wants, EVERY TIME, and now it's a war with Syria. What's so secret about their "evidence" that they have to have closed-door meetings to discuss it, and it can't be revealed to the American people? Vietnam started out as a "police action" with us in an "advisory capacity" only -- and already I'm hearing of putting troops on the ground to protect our precious embassy during our attack...

At least they didn't have to blow up our own buildings to justify it this time. Now war is cool again.

Obama himself is proof. I truly believe he entered office with honorable intent, to get us out of Iraq and not raise taxes... but when he got there, he found out how things really work in this country. That's why he's given us two new wars now, just doing what he's told. This government DISGUSTS me. I'm a prisoner in my own country, a slave to their cause. I support this crap with my taxes, and so do you. Be sure to fly our colors on your SUV.

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Fred Duckels 10 months, 3 weeks ago

At the time of the Iraq invasion Tom Friedman was willing to ride the first tank into Baghdad. Later his memory faded like so many.

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rhys jones 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Let's talk about profiteers for a second. Used to be, wars were fought by armies (Marines too) including their own mess and transportation... then along come Bush and Cheney, privatizing war, so now we've got Halliburton employees cooking the food, driving the trucks, many other non-combat roles (we pay other guys for that) at $200K/yr/each, not whatever a PFC makes. Seems war is big business these days.

Who's paying this time? The Chinese? The Saudi's? What strange bedfellows we make...

Think they'd settle for Yosemite, once the fire is out?

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John St Pierre 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Rhys... you commie !!!! War is all about profiteering!!! That's why you lie, deceive and con the populace into being led into one...

seems every time certain countries need cash flow or oil companies realize prices are falling...a crisis erupts in the middle east... and consequently look what happens to fuel prices!!! After all the same companies buy or produce their product in the very same places...

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rhys jones 10 months, 2 weeks ago

John -- Thanks for the compliment, I'm sure I've been called worse. Of course war is all about money, any excuse to mobilize, thereby cranking up the economy, making bombs and bullets and boots, and burning those fossil fuels we are fighting for...

And now to demonstrate what a commie I am, I am going to use this occasion to drag out an old drum and get back on my soapbox...

I would propose that we divert our manpower and resources from their current destructive uses, back to our own shores, and self-improvement.

What this country really needs is a water-redistribution system. A system of canals or pipelines, and reservoirs -- collect the water in flood-prone areas of the midwest, pump it to the dry States so they can prosper too -- bring the boys home, and trade in their rifles for shovels. Quit being victims of God's weather idiosyncrasies.

That'd be my plan. But the Fed will stop at nothing short of world domination. Every living human, their member and subject. That's where we're headed.

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rhys jones 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Lest I be accused of extreme digression off-topic, let me repeat:

I hardly trust anything I hear through the mainstream media, slanted as I know it is in support of our agendas, I worked where they slant it. I'm going to have to see a lot more convincing evidence than we have been presented so far, from an unbiased source, of the use of prohibited weapons, before I sign on to any military response. I find it incredible that the Assad regime would resort to their use, as they have the opposition outgunned already, and that would provoke the response we are now contemplating. Like WMD's and WTC's, this is just this week's excuse.

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jerry carlton 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Harvey I served in the Air Force during 1968 and 1969. I have not heard about the current elections in Viet Nam? If I am still alive and this country is still functioning in 10 years, get back to me about how great things are in Iraq.

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John Fielding 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Saddam Husein was brought to an international court, found guilty and hanged. The attempt to take Osama Bin Laden resulted in his death, but he would surely have faced a similar fate if captured alive. A few other examples from the recent past in Eastern Europe have had the tyrant dealt with by the former subjects.

So too should the butcher of Syria be treated, whether he can be brought through the full process of condemnation, or whether justice is served in a expedited manner as a consequence his resistance.

The saying "wanted: dead or alive" comes to mind. Perhaps the international community should post a reward, encourage an action from his general staff as well as from other forces. Certainly the origin of this war has been in an attempt to remove him by his subjects

The moral basis is there for any type of action that targets Assad. The United States is the only superpower left in the world. We are also the one nation dedicated from our conception to the advancement of human rights. If we fail to attempt to serve our calling, the world will suffer. If we succeed we will renew a sense of hope that there is still a force for the right in this world.

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John Fielding 10 months, 2 weeks ago

"I could not love thee Dear so much, loved I not honor more"

To Lucasta, Going to the Wars
by Richard Lovelace,1649

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rhys jones 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Let's see if I understand this correctly: Both sides are killing the infidels, in their God's service?

I sure hope that makes Him happy!! Onward Christian soldiers!!

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John St Pierre 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Absolutely!!!! Those who fail to study history are bound to repeat it.... Religious crusades are nothing new... I wonder at times if Cheney thought of himself as Richard the Lion Heart with his "christian crusade" in the middle east....

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John Fielding 10 months, 2 weeks ago

"Were Life a Gift, we have an Obligation"

OK lets get right to the ultimate question, what is the meaning of Life?

If there is any purpose in Life, it is to serve. To serve ones fellow men, to serve ones family, to serve the advancement of Life's Progress toward greater intelligence, greater love.

"Greater Love hath no man than this, that he would lay down his Life for his Friends".

There is a higher law, recognized since ancient times in western tradition, known as "Natural Law" or "Natures Law". Because of the intersection between natural law and natural rights, it has been cited as a component in the United States Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, as well as in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The founding of the United States is based on Natural law.

When we serve to protect innocents from slaughter, we fulfill Life's Purpose in accordance with Natural Law.

As we approach the anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Centers, and anticipate another assault to coincide with it, we will do well to remember who we are and what we represent as "the last, best hope of mankind".

"O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life."

"America, America, God mend Thine every flaw. Confirm Thy Soul in Self Control, Thy Liberty in Law".

God bless us, everyone.

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John Fielding 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Natures Laws, according to Hobbes.

• The first Law of nature is that every man should endover peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it; and that when he cannot obtain it he may seek and use all helps and advantages of war.

• The second Law of nature is that a man be willing, when others are so too, as far forth, as for peace, and defence of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself.

• The third Law is that men perform their covenants made. In this law of nature consisteth the fountain and original of justice... when a covenant is made, then to break it is unjust and the definition of injustice is no other than the not performance of covenant. And whatsoever is not unjust is just.

• The fourth Law is that a man which receiveth benefit from another of mere grace, endeavour that he which giveth it, have no reasonable cause to repent him of his good will. Breach of this law is called ingratitude.

• The fifth Law is complaisance: that every man strive to accommodate himself to the rest. The observers of this law may be called sociable; the contrary, stubborn, insociable, froward, intractable.

• The sixth Law is that upon caution of the future time, a man ought to pardon the offences past of them that repenting, desire it.

• The seventh Law is that in revenges, men look not at the greatness of the evil past, but the greatness of the good to follow.

• The eighth Law is that no man by deed, word, countenance, or gesture, declare hatred or contempt of another. The breach of which law is commonly called contumely.

• The ninth Law is that every man acknowledge another for his equal by nature. The breach of this precept is pride.

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John Fielding 10 months, 2 weeks ago

• The tenth law is that at the entrance into the conditions of peace, no man require to reserve to himself any right, which he is not content should be reserved to every one of the rest. The breach of this precept is arrogance, and observers of the precept are called modest.

• The eleventh law is that if a man be trusted to judge between man and man, that he deal equally between them.

• The twelfth law is that such things as cannot be divided, be enjoyed in common, if it can be; and if the quantity of the thing permit, without stint; otherwise proportionably to the number of them that have right.

• The thirteenth law is the entire right, or else...the first possession (in the case of alternating use), of a thing that can neither be divided nor enjoyed in common should be determined by lottery.

• The fourteenth law is that those things which cannot be enjoyed in common, nor divided, ought to be adjudged to the first possessor; and in some cases to the first born, as acquired by lot.

• The fifteenth law is that all men that mediate peace be allowed safe conduct.

• The sixteenth law is that they that are at controversie, submit their Right to the judgement of an Arbitrator.

• The seventeenth law is that no man is a fit Arbitrator in his own cause.

• The eighteenth law is that no man should serve as a judge in a case if greater profit, or honour, or pleasure apparently ariseth [for him] out of the victory of one party, than of the other.

• The nineteenth law is that in a disagreement of fact, the judge should not give more weight to the testimony of one party than another, and absent other evidence, should give credit to the testimony of other witnesses.

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jerry carlton 10 months, 2 weeks ago

John I will show my ignorance. The only Hobbes I know of is a cartoon character. The only laws that I truly accept are the Ten Commandments. I mostly obey the laws of Colorado and the United States but it is impossible to know all of them. I do not accept the laws of the Koran or Sharia law or the edicts of the UN or any of the rest of the garbage that the politicaly correct liberals of this country would have me accept.

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John Fielding 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I miss Calvin and Hobbs. Also the Far Side, why did the greatest cartoonists of our time close their venue when they retired, could have found new writers able to carry on in the tradition of the original authors.

Thomas Hobbs was an English philosopher, a contemporary of William Shakespeare. Both were great examples of the Elizabethan era, a time of transition from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment.

Natural Law is that which is not deliberately created by man, but exists regardless, may well be said to just be obvious. It is often described more or less well by philosophers. It is generally considered the right foundation for legal codes that do not rely exclusively on a particular religious doctrine for their basis. However, the parallels between religious laws and natural laws are many.

Generally when described it refers to the social compact, to organization of human activity, and thus differs from the Laws of the Universe or the Law of the Jungle.

"Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky, And the wolf that obeys it may prosper, and the wolf that shall break it must die!"

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jerry carlton 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Thanks John. I must have heard of him in some history class but do not remember it.

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John Fielding 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Sorry, I misquoted Kipling there, here is the work in its entirety. There are some excellent analogies for human society here as well. Enjoy!

NOW this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back — For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep; And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep.

The Jackal may follow the Tiger, but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown, Remember the Wolf is a Hunter — go forth and get food of thine own.

Keep peace withe Lords of the Jungle — the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear. And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the Boar in his lair.

When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, and neither will go from the trail, Lie down till the leaders have spoken — it may be fair words shall prevail.

When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack, ye must fight him alone and afar, Lest others take part in the quarrel, and the Pack be diminished by war.

The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home, Not even the Head Wolf may enter, not even the Council may come.

The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain, The Council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again.

If ye kill before midnight, be silent, and wake not the woods with your bay, Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop, and your brothers go empty away.

Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need, and ye can; But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill Man!

If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker, devour not all in thy pride; Pack-Right is the right of the meanest; so leave him the head and the hide.

The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack. Ye must eat where it lies; And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair, or he dies.

The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf. He may do what he will; But, till he has given permission, the Pack may not eat of that Kill.

Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling. From all of his Pack he may claim Full-gorge when the killer has eaten; and none may refuse him the same.

Lair-Right is the right of the Mother. From all of her year she may claim One haunch of each kill for her litter, and none may deny her the same.

Cave-Right is the right of the Father — to hunt by himself for his own: He is freed of all calls to the Pack; he is judged by the Council alone.

Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw, In all that the Law leaveth open, the word of your Head Wolf is Law.

Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they; But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is — Obey!

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rhys jones 10 months, 2 weeks ago

... wow. I have no comment on the above. To return to the issue at hand --

I just heard Kerry repeat on NPR "No boots on the ground." Our Embassy is theoretically our soil. How does he propose to defend that without more boots? This has Murphy written all over it. Or it's more smoke and mirrors, an ongoing charade, puppet show, talking heads...

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mark hartless 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Some people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way you can understand them. This quote came from the Czech Republic. Someone over there has it figured out. We have a lot of work to do.

“The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.”

“The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.

The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.”

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jerry carlton 10 months, 2 weeks ago

We still have an open embassy in Syria? Unbelievable?

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John Fielding 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Sorry Rhys if I seemed to get too far afield, but the thread is about whether to go into Syria so discussion of moral imperatives would not be inappropriate.

Most people believe there is a moral order in the universe. Sometimes it is called Karma, often Divine retribution, eternal reward, just deserts, many appellations. If it is true that Forces beyond our ken are at work, they could certainly utilize human actions to their ends. I make no claim of special understanding, but I for one do hope that natural justice may prevail, will offer what little assistance I may render to its service.

If we claim to stand for what is good and right, to promote human rights and dignity, we can expect Karma to call us on it.

"From those to whom much is given, much shall be required".

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John Fielding 10 months, 2 weeks ago

And so as we stand here this eve of the 9-11 anniversary, we await a major address to the nation from our commander in chief. Is there anything he can say tonight that will deter the attacks against us planned for tomorrow? What could it be, threat of reprisal, call for brotherhood?

I have been told that hope and fear cannot coexist, but they do within me. I fear for our nation, that we may lose that which has made us the beacon to the world, but I have not lost hope that we may recover it. I fear for the world, that the hatred sprung from devotion to a moral code will devastate society, while I hope that a recognition that we are all morally bound will free us from that curse.

I pray that we may all someday be filled with love and compassion for all living things and gratitude for the universe in which they exist.

"There are ties between us, all men and women, living on the earth, ties of hope and love, of sister and brotherhood.

We are bound together in our desire to see the world become a place in which our children can grow free and strong

We are bound together, by the task that stands before us, and the road that lies ahead, we are bound, we are bound".

(James Taylor)

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John Fielding 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Ok, here is a suggestion. Let the evidence of Assad and his generals use of chemical weapons be taken to the international court. Let them be tried and convicted in absentia. The sentence will be death, by hanging if they can be brought in alive. Then see if the world will support action to remove him, and if his troops defect en mass to the moderate rebel forces.

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rhys jones 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Why bother; he's already tried, convicted, and hung.

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