Public Against Syria Strike

Is the polling on this robust? Probably not. A majority will probably wonder why we didn’t do anything as more and more images of slaughter come across the news. The way to evade that might be to make a big deal out of Russia vetoing in the UN, but then Americans aren’t fond of our leaders who take no for an answer from the UN.

Clearly, British politics won’t allow for another U.S.-led middle east venture without more and I imagine U.S. politics won’t allow for one without even the British.

If we are politically unable to act in Syria (as opposed to pragmatically; I’m not sure there’s anything we can do, not sure there isn’t either) it will be because of Bush’s failure in Iraq and the fraudulent pretenses that got us there. For a decade, I’ve warned of something like this happening, but I always expected it to be in relation to Iran.

Just like the Cambodians felt the effects of our policy failures in Vietnam, the Syrians are going to feel those effects from Iraq.

With Egypt and Syria collapsing, it might be a good idea for Kerry to get back to Jerusalem.

The Freedom Party

About six-years into the Obama Administration gays and lesbians are no longer as actively discriminated against, and generally allowed more of the full rights of citizenship.

And today, the federal government clarified that it will no longer prosecute legal, or medically legal, formal marijuana distribution in the states.

Despite all of the yammering about “freedom,” with Republicans you get arcane weird abortion restrictions and overtly disenfranchising voter ID laws. With Democrats, slowly, you get more citizens, having more rights and pointless intrusions like marijuana prohibition beginning to melt away.

The “War on Drugs” is the worst legacy of the Nixon Administration: grouchy hippie-punching that has been used to incarcerate minorities, militarize the police force, and created paranoia about surveillance that should always have been purely the purview of preventing 9/11-style attacks.

Indeed, the worst aspect of the War on Drugs has been turning the police into an enemy for people that should be supporting them. No matter how many times the police help one after a car accident, or shoo a whackadoodle out of one’s stoop there is always that THC trepidation.

The War on Drugs totally harshed me mellow, dude. I mean, did you see what God did to us?

Of course, the fact that a hippie punching encrustation from the 60s keeps on disenfranchising minorities is why most of the old Confederacy will maintain their criminalization of da weed. Whatever. Oregon, Vermont, Alaska, California, Hawaii and the rest of the Freedom states will surely follow in Washington and Colorado’s footsteps and reap the benefits of more commerce and revenue and a less distracted police force. Just as it should be.

This is one of those things that I always thought would happen, but never thought I would necessarily see happen.

Suddenly, Police in Helicopters becomes even more of an anachronism. Kinda’ feel like celebrating.

Is it futile?

Maybe not.

I find that international actors are well-equipped to limit civilian slaughter: Intervention supporting the government decreases the likelihood that a government orders civilians killed. Intervention against the government leads to a decrease in death tolls when killing occurs. Ultimately, supportive intervention is a useful means of preventing government killing, while oppositional intervention limits its escalation once it begins.

The problem with this finding is that it doesn’t tell us what we have to do in this particular situation or if it works in this particular situation. But the idea that it doesn’t work, ever? Just a dogma.

Just to be clear

Under no circumstances should the United States put troops inside Syria. That is what we did in Iraq and it didn’t work. Yet here is an article saying we shouldn’t “invade.”

The situation is Syria is actually not too different from the legal, if not the common, definition of genocide. The Alawite minority is using weapons to kill part of the Sunni majority. Also, someone is using chemical weapons. These are two things we say we aren’t going to allow, but we always allow and all the bad guys know it.

The one instance I can think of where the international community intervened and prevented a further massacre is in the former Yugoslavia, and there were no troops there until there was already a peace deal.

In Iraq, there was no civil war, there was nothing happening. There was no nuclear weapons program. Apparently, there weren’t even any chemical weapons. There were no links with al qaeda. We invaded with a massive army and occupied the country for almost 10 years. And this was after we had more or less established a solution to what had been an internal conflict after our earlier intervention without the army through no-fly zones.

Anyone who is suggesting we do that in Syria is completely out of their minds.

But whether a few missiles that might be shot destroying their chemical stockpiles, or whether there should be a no-fly zone to shield refugees, or something else more along the lines of the former Yugoslavia … are these things really off the table in the mind of the left because of Iraq?

All the wrong people

Yes, it’s abundantly clear that all of the wrong people are supporting the “war” on Syria (read: some cruise missile strikes… or maybe dr000fnord00000nz!!!).

But let’s not give these people too much credit. They aren’t part of some nefarious illuminati carefully checkmating us into destruction. They just want to blow as much shit up as possible, all the time.

Honestly, though, it is enough to give me pause here.

OK, I paused.

Now, back to the reason that chemical weapons are bad and different. Chemical weapons are bad and different because they are really easy to use to commit acts of “genocide” as defined by the UN (i.e. partial or total extermination or forced relocation of people that aren’t in combat, etc.) easy to use against civilians, leave the buildings there, etc.

This isn’t to say that yes, on some level, all deaths are created equal. But don’t come at me with an anti-landmine treaty, or an anti-clusterbomb treaty and tell me the US is an asshole for not agreeing to it and then tell me that, meh, chemical weapons are just the same as everything else.

Also, there is just the whole “they are cuz they are” factor. Assad’s willingness to use them just shows he doesn’t care about the rules and doesn’t think we’re going to do anything.

So, does this mean we should do “regime change.” I think that means we do the changing, but I think that what may be happening here is assassination by other means.

Personally, I’m not excited about who might replace Assad, and I don’t have the answer, but making policy decisions based on being against who’s for it isn’t good, it’s just dickish tribalism.

Destroying the Bourgeoisie

I understand that there is bound to be some resentment among urbanites for being seen as something un-American. Whether it’s Duncan Black mockingly referring to his “urban hellhole” or LGM spreading “peak water” hysteria—time to get rid of everyone’s “stupid” lawns!!!, or whatever, I get it.

Of course the fact that to a man, these folks are themselves middle class, it probably says more about daddy than it does about politics that they seem to have such dismissive tones for the suburban way of life.

I thoroughly enjoyed living in a large city. I also kinda like the rural area where I live now, don’t mind the small town I used to live in, could manage in suburbs I used to live in, but I didn’t like the “exurb” experience much.

Anyway, maybe my ecumenical view on this is odd. But, yes, cars pollute a lot. Houses use a lot of water. But if you really mean to take aim at these things for what really seem like post hoc reasons, you must realize it’s politically suicidal. Cars are bad because they pollute, mostly due to their contribution to warming, but also because of smog. Water uses water. And the vice of housing prices and the desire for more space meant more sprawl, which means more cars driving more miles, which means more pollution.

But in reality, in the real world of evidence, it’s not that cars are bad. If the cars were electric and their power came from carbon-free sources, then what’s the problem? If the water was abundantly created from desalinization by carbon-free power, what’s the problem. (In reality, residential use is a tiny fraction of water use in the southwest and residential prices are expensive compared to the subsidized agricultural uses—but you’re a liberal so you don’t want the price of food to go up, right?)

The more interesting observation here to me is that the main haters of the suburban/bourgeoise lifestyle are the bourgeoise suburbanites (Duncan Black lived in Irvine, the fucking Platonic archetype of suburbia) themselves.

These people, in the grand scheme of things, have it so good that they end up drowning in their own consumption (i.e. shit) and are trying to escape it by flights of intellectual anger and dismissal.

I’m from the wing of the Democratic party that says the wages are too damn low, not the wing that says the wages are too damn low but you don’t need them anyway quit being such a wasteful spender. There is a very thin line between that and blaming the poor for the housing crisis type thinking—another very bourgeois type of thinking.

The evils of consumerism relate to buying useless shit you throw away, not to food, shelter, transportation, and other life essentials.