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Trump Orders Syria Strikes. So Now What?

trump-syria-strike

As rumored, President Trump ordered a retaliatory strike on Syria in response to the Assad regime’s horrific sarin attacks that killed innocents earlier in the week. Support among American political leaders and allies is near-universal at this early juncture. But it’s not at all clear that there is a useful strategy at work here. The answer to “And now what?” is not at all obvious.

Michael Gordon, Helene Cooper, and Michael Shear lay out the basics for the NYT:

President Trump said Thursday night that the United States had carried out a missile strike in Syria in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack this week, which killed more than 80 civilians.

“Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air base in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” Mr. Trump said in remarks at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

Mr. Trump — who was accompanied by senior advisers, including Stephen K. Bannon, his chief strategist; Reince Priebus, his chief of staff; his daughter Ivanka Trump; and others — said his decision had been prompted in part by what he called the failures by the world community to respond effectively to the Syrian civil war.

“Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed, and failed very dramatically,” the president said, referring to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. “As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen, and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.”

The Pentagon announced that 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles had been fired at Al Shayrat airfield in Syria. The missiles were aimed at Syrian fighter jets, hardened aircraft shelters, radar equipment, ammunition bunkers, sites for storing fuel and air defense systems.

WaPo‘s Dan Lamothe explains why Tomahawks were the tool of choice:

The U.S. Navy launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles early Friday in Syria at a military airfield in response to a chemical-weapons attack this week on civilians, U.S. military officials said, relying on a mainstay weapon when the Pentagon wants to attack from a safe distance.

The missiles were launched about 4:40 a.m. local time from the USS Ross and USS Porter, Navy destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, defense officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the operation. The strikes targeted al-Shayrat air base in Homs province, from which the Syrian military allegedly launched chemical weapons attacks against civilians Tuesday.

The Tomahawk has been a critical part of U.S. warfare since the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and commonly carries a 1,000-pound warhead. It was last used by the Pentagon in October, when the military launched Tomahawks from the Red Sea at three coastal radar sites in Yemen after Houthi rebels there fired missiles at several U.S. ships over several days.

Before that, the United States used them in September 2014 as the country expanded its air war against militants from Iraq into Syria. The Pentagon said at the time that it launched 47 Tomahawks from two ships — the USS Philippine Sea in the Persian Gulf and the USS Arleigh Burke in the Red Sea — and hit sites used by what it called the Khorasan Group, an Islamist cell said to be linked to al-Qaeda.

The strikes, announced Thursday night in Washington, were launched from the USS Ross and the USS Port, two destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea, a defense official said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the operation. Russian forces also use the base, but U.S. military officials said they “deconflicted” with them ahead of time to minimize the possibility of them being caught in the strikes.

So, the good news is that the administration chose an option with very low immediate risk to U.S. personnel and went out of their way to avoid the worst-case result, an accidental strike on Russian forces that could have escalated into great power war.

Ryan Evans, editor of War on the Rocks, lays out the Good, Bad, and Ugly represented by the strikes, and notes that the Good isn’t really all that great:

[O]ne could reasonably argue that Trump’s cruise missile strike re-establishes deterrence with Assad as far as the narrow but important issue of chemical weapons use is concerned. However, I worry that an attack on just a single air base could be seen by the Assad regime as nothing more than symbolic and have the opposite intended effect. What if Assad does it again?

This Syrian civil war has been ongoing now for just over six years. Assad has clearly been the “bad guy” from the outset but it was never clear that there was a good guy. The Obama administration talked tough about Assad but didn’t do much about it, correctly recognizing that the options were bad.  The combination of the Russians backing Assad—and thus forestalling action on a UN Security Council on which it wields a veto, a steady fracturing of the Assad opposition forces, intervention by a bewildering array of foreign actors, and the appearance of what would become the Islamic State meant that the options continued to get worse over time.

While Obama made a series of mistakes with regard to Syria—most notably the constant refrain of “Assad must go” and the drawing of the infamous “red line”—he avoided making a catastrophic error. But the result of largely staying out of the civil war (if ultimately not the counter-ISIL fight) has been horrendous: horrific loss of innocent life, unspeakable atrocities, and massive refugee flows.

So, it’s not at all surprising that there has been near-universal proclamation of support for these strikes from our European allies. There had been, as foreign affairs reporter Laura Rozen notes, “a lot of pent-up demand built up against Assad horrors [these] past few years.”

But now what?

The options have not gotten better. It’s almost inconceivable that we’ll risk war with Russia to oust the Assad regime. And, even if we could somehow reach an accommodation with Moscow, it’s not at all clear who would govern Syria post-Assad.

Beyond that, as Andrew Exum, who served as Obama’s last assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, observes, this action will almost certainly

. . . greatly complicate the fight against the Islamic State. For the past two years, U.S. and coalition aircraft have flown in and around one of the world’s more robust air defense systems without the Syrian regime harassing the pilots. We had a few incidents where Russian jets got too close to U.S. aircraft or Syrian anti-aircraft radar lit up U.S. or coalition aircraft, but for the most part, the air war has gone forward unimpeded.

Both Russia and the Syrian regime, though, are still well-positioned to play the spoiler. They can affect the flights of U.S. aircraft in eastern Syria by activating their air defenses and have, in recent months, brought in more advanced air-defense weaponry that has even the Israelis nervous. They’ve also “accidentally” struck U.S.-backed rebel groups fighting the Islamic State.

Putting some holes in Assad’s airfields is cathartic. It’s exactly what Hillary Clinton—my preferred candidate in the last election—would have done were she president.  But what now?

 

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Liberal Capitalist says:

    What now do you say? Why, what do you mean?

    We have always been at war with eastasia.

    Members of the Inner Party have said that the Ministry of Peace has always been for action against Syria.

    To say elsewise if False News.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. Argon says:

    It’s theater. We warn the Russians (of course) and they warn the Syrians. Maybe Assad doesn’t use gas for a while but he will still use horrific, ‘conventional’ means to terrorize his population. As the post notes, the options are terrible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  3. Scott says:

    At this point, like most, I have more questions than opinions. Generally, my position is that we should stay the hell out. Without a clear adversary, clear objectives, and a clear path, there is too many variables to sort out and reach a successful conclusion. But here are some observations:

    1) This strike probably won’t change anything. At this point, it is violent symbolism

    2) Weakening Assad strengthens ISIS and other radical Sunni groups. It will also lengthen the Syrian civil war and prevent it reaching conclusion.

    3) I wonder if this was a subtle manipulation by Russia to see how Trump reacts to events though I don’t like the implication that Putin is so ruthless that chemical killing of civilians can be planned and executed.

    4) Second and Third order effects are totally unpredictable.

    5) I don’t think the American people would put up with putting more troops at risk. Special Forces maybe but not regular Armed Forces.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  4. MarkedMan says:

    Trump went from publicly giving Assad free range (via Tillerson and Haley) to this attack in a matter of, what, 48 hours. There was no larger plan. There will be no larger plan. It was impulsive and he will continue to respond on impulse.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 1

  5. J-Dub says:

    It was a $180 million statement by Trump that he is not a Russian stooge, made in front of the Chinese president for added effect.

    Somewhere a Raytheon sales rep is smiling.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  6. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Exactly.

    @J-Dub:

    Yep. Burnishing up his manly credentials.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. Eric Florack says:

    First, a reminder of something I have said quite often:
    Peace, real, lasting peace, is not a product of disavowing war, or thinking peaceful thoughts.
    Nor is it the product of negotiated settlements.
    Peace is the product of winning the war brought against you, with sufficient force to prevent any ideas of trying it again.
    Examples:
    World war II was the direct result of the negotiated settlement imposed following WWI.
    The current Korean troubles are the product of negotiating away our efforts in the original Korean War.
    Consider, on the other hand our victories over Japan and Germany and how decisive they were , and how good and peaceful an ally each has been following that victory.
    Second, the lie has been put to the assurances by the Obama crime spree that all the chemical weapons had been removed from Syria. Clearly, diplomacy didn’t work. John Kerry and Barack Obama have blood on their hands. Now it’s down to cleaning up the mess they’ve left behind.

    And somehow, I get the feeling that the talks with China down in Florida on what to do about North Korea is going to have a somewhat different tone to it, now.
    Oh… And as a bonus, we get to watch our leftist press give itself whiplash turning from Trump is owned by the Russians to Trump is risking war with the Russians.

    There’s a fair amount of speculation just now that Assad was not behind the attacks that Trump responded to yesterday. I suppose I can see the argument, but how does that negate the validity of the response?

    Our intelligence sources indicated quite clearly where those attacks have come from. Attacking that spot seems an appropriate response. And that is regardless of whether Assad actually gave the order or not.

    And for the sake of argument let’s assume that Bashar Assad was not stupid enough to give the order. He’s just been put on notice that he better get the independent actors under control.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 33

  8. RangerDave says:

    Even though this is mostly just a symbolic strike, isn’t the symbolism important? Isn’t a “statement”, in the form of military force, that the use of chemical weapons will not go unanswered, important?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  9. Eric Florack says:

    @RangerDave: apparently the answer is no, at least to the usual suspects.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9

  10. Moosebreath says:

    Left out of the discussions I have seen is what if Assad elects to respond to this through his Hezbollah allies, either directly against US interests in the Middle East or indirectly against Israel. This pinprick response may have felt good, but it could make things much worse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. Scott says:

    @<a href="#comment-219

    4693″>Eric Florack: Peace is the product of winning the war brought against you, with sufficient force to prevent any ideas of trying it again.

    First, of course, this has never happened. WWI was not a negotiated settlement. It was a total collapse of the German Empire, a total overthrow of the established monarchy. The settlement was draconian and imposed. And yet, within 20 years, Germany rose again. Just the opposite of what you implied.

    The only way your path would work would be a genocide of the population and total destruction of the existing culture. Won’t happen. Your basic premise is wrong.

    Second, war was not brought to us. It is not clear at all why the Syrian mess is ours to fix other than we have the national means to react swiftly and decisively. Or impulsively, as some would suggest.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 0

  12. MBunge says:

    I confess to not being up to date on this but is there even an ounce of pretense that this strike was authorized by Congress? If not, isn’t it an act of war against another country an impeachable offense?

    And thank to the folks who are taking this opportunity to demonstrate the underlying problem with this neo-McCarthyite BS about Trump and Russia. Letting people believe in nonsense is like a crack in a dam. The problem just gets worse and worse over time until it is impossible to fix.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  13. CSK says:

    If it adds anything to the discussion, Hillary Clinton told an NBC interviewer a few hours before the attack that there should be a U.S. strike on Syrian airfields.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  14. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Eric Florack: so what you are saying is that if you have no milk in the fridge it’s absolutely impossible to get some more?

    Try again, silly. I realize that to you creating more sarin from raw materials is as impossible as a chimp understanding General Relativity, but Assad’s chemists have more brainpower.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  15. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Very Neo-conny. Could use some more Bill Kristol with a sprig of Dick Cheney.

    @ everyone who’s sane

    My mood is similar to a lot of other people. Just a few points Dr. Joyner omitted:

    1.) We warned Russia beforehand what we were doing. This is good for de-escalation, but rather neuters the point of the strike in the first place. The fact that Russia is beating their chest and rending garments in the UN over the legality of this action makes me doubt that Putin is displeased with this outcome.

    2.) Trump’s mercurial nature should alarm everyone, including you Eric. In about 36 hours, Trump goes from blaming Obama and Assad equally for the sarin attack to ordering a missile strike to help “the children of God.” Whiplash does not begin to describe this in terms of foreign policy. What does this mean for our Syrian refugee ban? You can’t use humanitarian aid as an excuse for bombs when you’re instrumental in denying that humanitarian aid. Of course IOKIYAR.

    3.) The politics of this action, both domestically and internationally, cannot be predicted with much confidence. Syrian rebels and refugees, as well as all neocons, have praised this action, but so has ISIL and rumor is that they’re fighting near the airbase that was struck. Iran is a wildcard. Russia is a wildcard. Assad’s response is a wildcard. There’s still too many jokers in the deck with Syria.

    4.) Domestically the media loves images of the US and Presidents at war, but for Trump, as almost everything he does, this somehow raises more questions than answers. The media may praise his flexible ideologies (especially when it boosts their ratings) but I doubt his supporters will, or his staff and Secretaries, no matter how many “TRUMP AT WAR” books Bob Woodward is currently writing now.

    5.) One last point: in the past, we could conduct numerous airstrikes or intervene in foreign countries, conduct missions quickly, and then leave before the news cameras arrived. In today’s world everyone has a news camera, and everyone has worldwide access. This hinders the effectiveness of our military while helping smaller foes, and is a new phase in asymmetrical warfare. The Arab Spring and its resultant conflicts may go down in history as the first “Smartphone Conflict,” where gov’ts and people conducted their actions and reactions based on what was currently trending on the Internet.

    But we cannot conduct foreign policy by what’s merely viral on Twitter or currently on cable news. There were suspected sarin attacks before this one. Why now?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  16. Hal_10000 says:

    Brace yourself: everyone’s going to spend a few hours talking about how Presidential Trump is. Until he has another Twitter rant.

    I described this on my blog as “virtue signaling with bombs”. It’s to show we don’t approve of chemical weapons (which I thought were all gone). As long as Assad massacres his people using conventional means, we’re OK with it. And … I hate to say this … it’s not our fight. All we will do is make the situation worse.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  17. Grumpy Realist says:

    P.S. My own view of the matter is a) it’s kabuki with unfortunately a dead rate b) the conspiracies getting floated out there are crazy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. Jack says:

    @CSK:

    Yep. Burnishing up his manly credentials.

    As opposed to what? Drawing a red line with Moochelle’s lipstick? Yeah, that was manly.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 32

  19. Jack says:

    @Hal_10000:

    It’s to show we don’t approve of chemical weapons (which I thought were all gone).

    The Obama Administration through John Kerry declared in 2014 “we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  20. RangerDave says:

    @Scott: First, of course, this has never happened. WWI was not a negotiated settlement. It was a total collapse of the German Empire, a total overthrow of the established monarchy. The settlement was draconian and imposed. And yet, within 20 years, Germany rose again. Just the opposite of what you implied.

    Well, yes and no. The German government surrendered and withdrew from the field while “the field” was still outside German borders. As a result, the German people never suffered the direct effects of war on their own territory and were thus susceptible to the “stab in the back” theory that helped fuel the Nazi rise to power. From the perspective of the German people, particularly after a few years had passed, it was possible to start seeing the peace as more devastating than the war. In WWII, by contrast, air power and, eventually, invasion, brought the pain of the war directly to the German people, and it’s certainly plausible that this direct experience of the horrors of war is one of the major reasons for the post-WWII cultural shift away from militarism in Germany. Now, that said, no one in the modern West has the stomach to engage in “total war” and deliberately inflict pain on civilian populations – and thank God for that – so that scenario isn’t really an option anymore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  21. Stormy Dragon says:

    #bigmistake

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. James Pearce says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Peace is the product of winning the war brought against you, with sufficient force to prevent any ideas of trying it again.

    Seeing variations of this nonsense on my Facebook. It’s about 50-50 with the “If you don’t like Trump, shut up” from vets who, every other day of the year, want us to fall to our knees and shower them with praise for preserving our freedoms.

    Syria used chemical weapons on their own people. I support smashing their faces in. But let us not confuse this with a “war that’s been brought against us.”

    Better to acknowledge that this is a choice, and to understand why we’re making it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  23. Stormy Dragon says:

    On the other hand, meet the new boss, same as the old boss:

    Hillary Clinton: US should ‘take out’ Assad’s air fields

    “Assad has an air force, and that air force is the cause of most of these civilian deaths as we have seen over the years and as we saw again in the last few days,” Clinton said in a speech at the “Women in the World” summit in New York City. “And I really believe that we should have and still should take out his air fields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  24. CSK says:

    @Jack:

    Trump makes a fetish of being perceived as the toughest guy on the block with the biggest dick. Obama didn’t. Big difference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  25. wr says:

    @MBunge: “And thank to the folks who are taking this opportunity to demonstrate the underlying problem with this neo-McCarthyite BS about Trump and Russia.”

    Please spare us your complete ignorance about McCarthy and McCarthyism. The lives of real Americans were ruined by a set of vicious right-wing politicians who had decided that believing in liberal causes should be a crime punishable by prison or banishment from all aspects of society, including employment. To compare that to the very real investigation that our sitting president might be a tool of the Russian president is thoroughly loathesome. I realize you will say anything to maintain your posture of superiority to all sides, but this just makes you look like a hateful clown.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  26. Jack says:

    @CSK: And Obama made a fetish out of drawing red lines to look tough while everyone knew he was a pencil necked geek who couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 26

  27. Pch101 says:

    But now what?

    As an exercise in international relations, probably not much. It’s a one-off and it likely won’t lead to much of a response except for some rhetoric.

    However, it does reveal that Trump is a reactionary. First, his administration eggs on Assad, then it seems to be shocked when it sees exactly what that entails. Trump should own this gas attack, but he won’t, of course.

    Obama’s policy was uncomfortable and seemingly ambiguous, but it made sense: When you have two sets of bad guys who are fighting each other, then you need to have a very compelling reason to favor one of the bad guys over the other. Here, there wasn’t one. The only way that Obama was going to support Assad would have been if Assad had agreed to hand over the keys to a new government, hence the murkiness of the situation there

    Clinton would have surely reacted in the same way, but there would have been a plan to go along with it. Trump has signaled to the world that he has the temperament and consistency of a fickle banana republic dictator.

    I have a vague fear that Putin will respond indirectly by finding an excuse to attack something in Ukraine, a one-off of his own. It will be a test of NATO resolve and Trump’s ability to work with American allies, and I doubt that it would be handled well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  28. CSK says:

    @Jack:

    And you think Trump can fight his way out of a paper bag? Sorry, pal. Trying to steal their houses from elderly widows is more his speed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  29. Guarneri says:

    so much speculation, so little time……………………

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  30. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Peace is the product of winning the war brought against you, with sufficient force to prevent any ideas of trying it again.

    Please, you ignorant bigot, explain how Syria and Assad brought this war to us?
    Jesus-god you are a dumb fwck.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  31. Jack says:

    @Pch101: But, but, according to you and others here, Trump and Putin are BFFs, which means Putin will do no such thing.

    I’m shocked! Shocked I tell ya’, than any such proposition would emanate from your direction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  32. Scott says:

    @RangerDave: You are right, of course. The Germans overthrew their own monarchy. What the US did after WWII with both Germany and Japan was just the opposite of “salting the earth”. It was rebuilding the nations in our own image. It was successful. In recent years, the rebuilding model has not been successful in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  33. Kylopod says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Peace, real, lasting peace, is not a product of disavowing war, or thinking peaceful thoughts.

    That’s right. In reaction to the president who said “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war,” who authorized a troop surge in Afghanistan as one of his first acts as president, who sanctioned air strikes against Libya, and who ordered the execution of Osama Bin Laden, the most devastating rebuke of his foreign policy is to lecture about the follies of pacifism.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  34. grumpy realist says:

    @Jack: I see you’re another person who, when gaping slack-jawed into the fridge and discovering that The Milk Is Out, never even thinks of the possibility of going to the store and buying more.

    Do you even buy your own groceries, or do you just automatically expect your significant other to do all the dirty work?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  35. Jack says:

    @CSK: Not unlike the ACTUAL stealing of houses from widows that happened under Obama when the housing market crashed.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 21

  36. Eric Florack says:

    @Scott: World War 1 was a result of perceived slights and of treaties in place which obligated other nations to respond .
    Again the direct result of negotiated peace.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  37. Jack says:

    @grumpy realist: Yeah, yeah, yeah, Sarin is as easy to get as a carton of milk at the local grocery store. I’ve heard your schtick before and it didn’t play that well then, either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  38. Eric Florack says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: let’s see. Chemical weapons?

    And before you get too far down the road about how Syria is a Sovereign Nation and we have no business there, let’s talk about the military response to outlets. Go ahead. Take a tour of Camp one and two and then get back to me about we shouldn’t respond to someone else’s problem

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  39. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Syria is a swamp we shouldn’t wade into. It’s quicksand. Obama was right to stay the fwck out.
    Now, after years of saying we shouldn’t strike Syria, campaigning as a non-interventionist, and stating just last week that Assad was a stable leader, Trump decides literally overnight to strike Syria.
    Amazing what 35% approval ratings will do to make you want to change the subject.
    Our President is insane.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  40. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jack:

    Not unlike the ACTUAL stealing of houses from widows that happened under Obama when the housing market crashed.

    The housing market crashed under Bush.
    Dumb fwck.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0

  41. Pch101 says:

    @Jack:

    I would say that you are as dumb as a post, but that would be an insult to wood.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  42. James Pearce says:

    @Jack: Show me on this doll where Obama hurt you.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  43. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Chemical weapons?

    Chemical weapons is bring war to us???
    You’re dumber than I thought possible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  44. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:
    In 2016 Obama ordered more than 12,000 bombs dropped in Syria, roughly the same number in Iraq, slightly fewer in Afghanistan.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  45. Jack says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Yes, it did. And people lost their houses under Obama, Dumb fwck!

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 16

  46. Jack says:

    @Pch101: So, you are denying that Trump and Putin are BFFs, or you are denying you stated such? Which is it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  47. Mr. Prosser says:
  48. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: Obama never attacked the Assad regime, no matter how many bombs he dropped.

    You see, Obama was only willing to depose dictators that couldn’t fight back…like Kadafi.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 16

  49. grumpy realist says:

    @Pch101: I’d agree with you if by “reactionary” you mean “someone who reacts without thinking.”

    Yeah, I think Trump and his entourage are DUMB enough to not realize one of the possible results of his comments about Assad is Assad thinking he had a green light to do whatever necessary inside the four corners of Syria in order to maintain control; hence the gassing.

    Trump sees pictures of “little babies gassed”, is shocked, and his knee-jerk reaction is to go bomb Syria.

    The alt-right trolls are pro-Trump and pro-defense, but they’re also anti-involvement in the Mideast, hence the multiple conspiracy theories that they’re now slinging back and forth. (The most opulent one I’ve run across so far is that Obama in conjunction with Teh Deep State threatened Trump with assassination of his family unless Trump bombed Syria. So of course, like everything, It’s Obama’s Fault. I’m surprised they haven’t worked The Illuminati and Teh Joos into the story yet.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  50. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:
    This says nothing at all about the Putin-Trump bromance. The Russians don’t give a rat’s ass about some one-off strike at a minor Syrian field – they’ll happily sell Assad replacements for any planes that were damaged. This is just another pinprick strike, another bit of ‘proportional’ nonsense, just like we’ve been doing for years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  51. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:
    Obama asked Congress for authorization to strike Assad and Congress refused.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  52. Scott says:

    @Jack:

    And Obama made a fetish out of drawing red lines to look tough

    No, the original red line comment was an example of the dangers of speaking off the cuff. There weren’t red lines everywhere. Except in the fevered minds of the blogosphere.

    everyone knew he was a pencil necked geek who couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag.

    I think that is just projection.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  53. al-Ameda says:

    @MBunge:

    I confess to not being up to date on this but is there even an ounce of pretense that this strike was authorized by Congress? If not, isn’t it an act of war against another country an impeachable offense?

    What this brings to mind is when, a few years ago, Obama went to Congress with his request to take action to bomb bases and encampments in Syria.

    Congress declined his request, and many, primarily Republicans, said that if he proceeded without the Congressional approval it would be unconstitutional.

    I wonder if Republicans feel that way now?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  54. grumpy realist says:

    @Jack: To someone with a decent knowledge of chemistry, ordinary laboratory equipment, and easily accessible raw materials, yeah, it wouldn’t be that much of a problem.

    It’s not my fault you failed freshman chemistry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  55. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    To halfwits like Jack, Honolulu is in Kenya and Syria is in Moscow.

    He’s a moron worth less than the muck on the bottom of a shoe, and not worthy of more than a one-sentence insult.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  56. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    ‘proportional’ nonsense, just like we’ve been doing for years.

    So, Trump should have acted un-proportionally? I’d love to see the comments/headlines if he had done that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  57. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:
    No, Jack, Trump should have a strategy. Throwing cruise missiles at an air base is not a strategy, it is a show. It is messaging. It is fundamentally meaningless and will change nothing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  58. Jack says:

    @Pch101: Apparently someone isn’t getting enough from his obese spouse and woke up cranky today.

    Did you ever buy that 1/2 ton pickup so you could take her out for some air?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  59. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: So, clearly you are smarter that the National Security team, yet you want to lecture on the 1000s of bombs that Obama dropped on Syria.

    Yeah, don’t quit your day job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  60. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:
    Smarter than Trump, certainly, and smarter than you. But that’s beside the point.

    A one-off strike means nothing unless it is part of a larger strategy. It seems it is not. I don’t believe we are going after Assad, indeed the WH has said we aren’t going after Assad. So, like I said, this is theater. It is essentially meaningless in and of itself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  61. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: And what was Obama’s strategy? Drop bombs to look like he was doing something? Theater as you call it? At least Trump’s strike was a direct and timely response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Trump is cleaning up Obama’s mess as clearly the red lines he drew were crosses time and again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  62. RangerDave says:

    I’m 100% in favor of “proportional response” doctrine; but hitting an air base is a disproportionately small response to Assad’s actions. Personally, I think a proportional response would be to put a Tomahawk through Assad’s living room window.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  63. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    You’re just blathering now.

    What has been cleaned up? Look at the Syria situation without obsessing over Obama, and tell me what was cleaned up. Is the war going to stop? Will Assad stop murdering his people? Are ISIS and Al Nusra etc… no longer in the country? Will Hezbollah go home? Will refugees stop fleeing? Will Turkey and the Kurdish militias become fast friends? Are the Iranians going to withdraw?

    Right. This strike does nothing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  64. Scott says:

    One thing I think everyone can agree on is that Syria is now 100% Trump’s responsibility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  65. grumpy realist says:

    @Jack: Don’t be silly. Trump should have THOUGHT of the consequences of his actions, rather than just gone ahead with this knee-jerk reaction.

    Luckily, at least someone over at DOD had the common sense to try to keep the response contained and walking down potential backlash (giving 30 minutes notice to any Russians to get out of the area, supposedly)

    The worst thing about this is now Russia will use this “attack” to make as much mischief as possible, loudly banging the drum at the UN in shocked horror, etc.

    Plus, Putin now knows exactly how easy it is to manipulate Trump: get some dead baby pictures on cable TV and he can wind up Trump to attack anyone.

    If I were living in Ukraine I’d be very uneasy right now….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  66. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: Nothing has been cleaned up. I agree. But that does not negate the fact that there is a mess in Syria. Trump is actually doing something while sending a signal to others that the US will act unilaterally when the international community will not. I believe Kim Jong Un is changing his overly large diapers about now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  67. MarkedMan says:

    @Pch101:

    Clinton would have surely reacted in the same way, but there would have been a plan to go along with it.

    This. Exactly. People are saying that Clinton said we should bomb a Syrian airbase only hours before, so she “endorsed” what Trump did. But what Clinton actually said was much more comprehensive: we should take away his air force, something she has been recommending since she was in Obama’ administration. And whether that is the right or the wrong thing to do, Clinton has no doubt thought deeply about it and discussed it with numerous experts in that part of the world. She has contemplated the ten things that would likely happen next and no doubt planned response for each of them.

    Clinton “endorsed” what Trump did? Who is less likely to endorse an impulsive military response, taken without thought or understanding? I can’t recall anyone, even those who hated her the most, ever saying that she was not calculating enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  68. Jack says:

    @Scott:

    One thing I think everyone can agree on is that Syria is now 100% Trump’s responsibility.

    So, the previous 6 years mean nothing. That’s right, I remember when you suggested that Afghanistan and Iraq were clearly 100% Obama’s responsibility after Obama dropped bombs in those countries.

    In short, get the fwck out of here with that mess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  69. george says:

    @Eric Florack:

    World War 1 was a result of perceived slights and of treaties in place which obligated other nations to respond .
    Again the direct result of negotiated peace.

    Actually no, if you read the history you’ll find its a lot more complicated than that. Much of it was centered around major Austrian players (Conrad especially) wanting to remove Serbia’s threat by example from the Austria-Hungarian empire (they’d been advocating attacking Serbia for years), and by German fears that they were surrounded by “a ring of steel” – France and probably Great Britain to the west, Russia to the east, and that the Russian threat was going to grow dramatically as it industrialized.

    Even many of the treaties were far from automatic; Germany basically gave Austria-Hungary the green light, rather than being pulled automatically in. Great Britain debated whether the invasion of Belgium was grounds to go to war (several cabinet members were strongly against it and even resigned; in the end they seem to have gone in based on their usual policy of supporting the underdog in Europe to make sure no one power dominated it. Same policy as against Napolean, only now the French were the underdogs rather than the potential dominators.
    Only France and Russia were pulled in automatically, and they were both going to almost automatically be attacked anyway because of the Schlieffen plan.

    How the war actually started is a pretty interesting history, and a lot more complicated than presented in grade school.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  70. grumpy realist says:
  71. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:
    You think this pinprick terrifies Kim Jong UN, but Obama’s taking out of Osama bin Laden, or his destruction of the Gaddafi regime did not?

    Look, you desperately want to believe in some strutting macho white male savior figure. You want/need to believe Trump has just moved mountains. But we’ve been shooting Tomahawks at people for a long time now, this is nothing new – aside from the lack of legal fig leaf.

    George W. Bush took down the Taliban and Saddam. Obama took out Osama Bin Laden, and with the Europeans took down Gaddafi. But now you want to believe that blowing up a minor airfield in Syria is some earth-shaking threat that has Lil’ Kim wetting himself? That’s absurd.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  72. Pch101 says:

    @RangerDave:

    A proportional response would entail letting in some Syrian refugees so that they aren’t killed off in the war.

    Trump is shocked that a bad guy would do bad things. Trump is afraid of Syrians who are trying to flee from a war zone. How stupid can this so-called president possibly be?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  73. anjin-san says:

    @george:

    Keep in mind that Florack is dead certain that North Vietnam was on the brink of defeat in Viet Nam when Democrats in Congress handed them victory on a silver platter. He enjoys the cartoon bubble view of history.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  74. steve says:

    “Not unlike the ACTUAL stealing of houses from widows that happened under Obama when the housing market crashed.”

    Wins the internet today for stupidest thing said on a political blog.

    Steve

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  75. michael reynolds says:

    We keep using words like ‘response’ and ‘retaliation’ both of which suggest that we were somehow attacked. We were not attacked. This is not a response or a retaliation, it is punishment. Not much punishment, a slap on the wrist, but punishment meted out by the US military.

    There is nothing ‘America First’ in this, we are once again positioning ourselves as the world’s policeman. Trump is right back where Obama was, and Bush before him, the difference being that Bush and Obama sought at least some kind of legal fig leaf, and formed at least a basic strategy.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  76. Jen says:

    Around 100 House members, after the 2013 chemical weapons attack from Assad, sent a letter to Obama reminding him that he couldn’t bomb without Congressional authorization. IIRC, he asked for it and never received it. Now Congress is okay with the Pres going it alone? IOKIYAR?

    Russia has pulled out of the 2015 agreement on air notification, which Putin probably wanted to do anyway, we’ve just given him the reason to do so.

    Do chemical weapons attacks on innocents deserve a response? Yes. Is taking out Syrian runways logical? Yes. Do we really understand where this is going to lead? Heck, no. This could fizzle or escalate, and now the US owns a part of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  77. grumpy realist says:
  78. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: Osama was a non state actor and Khadafi no longer had an ability to fight back and led to ISIS taking over Libya. Are you sure that is an example you want to use? Kim Jong Un was not in office when Bush took out Saddam and he has seen nothing but capitulation from the US during the Obama presidency.

    No, this is not a master stroke, but it is indeed a warning. Otherwise Putin would not be sending his ships into the Med.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  79. Pch101 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Ann Coulter is having a proper Aryan meltdown over the whole thing. It’s a bit amusing, really.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  80. Scott says:

    @Jack: You are right. Syria is not Trump’s responsibility. It is not the United States responsibility at all. It is, as you say, a mess. I would like to hear your views on how much time, treasure, and blood we should spend cleaning up that mess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  81. teve tory says:

    As opposed to what? Drawing a red line with Moochelle’s lipstick? Yeah, that was manly.

    we really could use an Ignore function on this blog so we can filter out the few absolutely shitty trolls like jack.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  82. teve tory says:

    Do you even buy your own groceries, or do you just automatically expect your significant other to do all the dirty work?

    You think someone like jack can keep an actual woman around? Besides the elderly mother who owns the house he lives in, I mean?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  83. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jack:

    So, the previous 6 years mean nothing. That’s right, I remember when you suggested that Afghanistan and Iraq were clearly 100% Obama’s responsibility after Obama dropped bombs in those countries.
    In short, get the fwck out of here with that mess.

    I take it back…you are not a dumb fwck.
    You are flat out retarded.
    Obama didn’t start a war in Syria. Trump just decided to. It was his choice. And yours, because you were retarded enough to vote for him.
    Obama also didn’t start the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
    Republicans do dumb shit. You’re retarded enough to vote for them. Don’t blame anyone else.
    In short, get the fwck out of here with that mess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  84. Jack says:

    @Scott: I agree 100%. It is not our responsibility. Were it my decision I would let Syria and the surrounding countries take care of themselves.

    However, once we have to take in refugees as military age men flee the country rather than fight, it becomes our problem. Once a dictator uses chemical weapons on his own populace, someone has to step up.

    I would have preferred that someone be Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, et al., however, none of those countries did step up because they have problems with their own populations and stepping up could lead their countries into civil war. Leaders in the middle le east lack leadership and wherewithal and would have let Assad slaughter 80% of his population if that was what was needed.

    Strategic strikes against Assad’s forces, military bases, or military support structures intended to reduce Assad’s ability to make war is a reasoned response that does not put US blood on the line.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  85. teve tory says:

    It’s worth revisiting this piece from a year ago by conservative Michael Brendan Dougherty explaining that whatever you think of Clinton, Rubio, or whoever, you absolutely should not make the mistake of supporting Trump.

    https://theweek.com/articles/609234/even-youre-ready-burn-world-down-dont-support-donald-trump

    “Trump can and likely will win the Republican nomination shortly. Hillary Clinton, an extraordinarily weak campaigner, will win the Democratic nomination, making a Trump presidency a real possibility. If he wins, my expectation is that by the end of Trump’s first term, perhaps 50 miles of wall would be half-constructed on the border, not paid for by Mexico. Trump would likely institute his “touchback” amnesty plan, and some thousands may take advantage, but millions of illegal immigrants would probably prefer to live as they have in the United States, and overall immigration enforcement would relax.

    American foreign policy would turn on public opinion, causing Trump and his hyper-aggrieved sense of honor to involve our nation in military commitments he doesn’t bother to understand or have patience to see through. “

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  86. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Yup, the Trump supporters don’t know which way to go.

    Sure they do…blame Obama.
    See all of Ignoramuses, I mean Jack’s, comments – above.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  87. Jack says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Obama didn’t start a war in Syria. Trump just decided to. It was his choice. And yours, because you were retarded enough to vote for him.

    So’ again. The previous 6 years mean nothing? Micheal was so hurt by my accusations that Obama was a P*ssy that he reminded us that Obama dropped 12,000 bombs on Syria. Yeah, I guess dropping bombs on a sovereign nation isn’t actually a war…right? Right?

    You are as dumb as a box of sh1t and twice as smelly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  88. al-Ameda says:

    @Jen:

    Around 100 House members, after the 2013 chemical weapons attack from Assad, sent a letter to Obama reminding him that he couldn’t bomb without Congressional authorization. IIRC, he asked for it and never received it. Now Congress is okay with the Pres going it alone? IOKIYAR?

    @Jack:

    Strategic strikes against Assad’s forces, military bases, or military support structures intended to reduce Assad’s ability to make war is a reasoned response that does not put US blood on the line.

    Jack, I do remember when Congress turned Obama down on this. That said, I do understand why Republicans will not be faking up concerns about ‘constitutionality’ and this president taking unilateral action.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  89. Jack says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Sure they do…blame Obama.

    Obama blamed Bush for 7 years. I think turn about is fair play. Twatcicle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 13

  90. grumpy realist says:

    @Pch101: Oh, you should see the wailing over at TAC and the Shock and Horror that Trump Doesn’t Keep His Promises by those who were Trump-pushers. Pat Buchanan is conspicuously silent on the situation and has gone off ranting about some totally unrelated matter.

    Rod Dreher is very carefully not saying “I told you so” in his latest, but a lot of his commentators are definitely making up for his silence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  91. Jack says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Jack, I do remember when Congress turned Obama down on this. That said, I do understand why Republicans will not be faking up concerns about ‘constitutionality’ and this president taking unilateral action.

    And what authorization has Obama had since bombings in Syria began in 2014? That’s right. None.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  92. grumpy realist says:

    This has gotta sting….if Trump ever bothered to read anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  93. Yank says:

    @michael reynolds: This. We are pretty good at taking terrible people/regimes out and Kim Jong Un and Assad know this. However, we suck at nation building/regime transition and again Kim Jong Un and Assad know this.

    So unless we magically get competent in that regard, Trump blowing up runways isn’t exactly going to change things in Syria and NK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  94. michael reynolds says:

    So, here’s what we know:

    1) The Russians were warned via a deconfliction call. They likely warned the Syrians.

    2) Putin has stayed off-camera and Russian statements are pro-forma. They ‘suspend’ but do not cancel deconfliction protocol.

    3) The Trump regime says this is not a change in policy toward Assad – in other words, not a signal that we are calling for regime change in Damascus.

    So, I’ll stand on my statement that this is theater that will change nothing and impress no one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  95. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    And what authorization has Obama had since bombings in Syria began in 2014? That’s right. None.

    Wow, that blew right by you, didn’t it?
    Of course you missed the salient fact that Obama did ask Congress for authorization to take action in Syria, and naturally ‘principled’ Republicans declined to give him that authority, you know, constitutional stuff. Minority-elect President Trump does it and no complaints from the same ‘principled’ people who were concerned about Obama taking unilateral action.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  96. James Pearce says:

    @teve tory:

    we really could use an Ignore function on this blog so we can filter out the few absolutely shitty trolls like jack.

    Nah… All the blocking and ignoring and filtering of the social media age has made us less able to discern what matters and what doesn’t and has left us unable to tolerate different viewpoints.

    It’s appropriate for children in a classroom or something, but adults talking about politics should have nothing to do with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  97. Gustopher says:

    It could have been worse. Much like everything else about Syria, there are no good options here — either a dictator uses chemical weapons with no consequences, or our idiot President gets dragged into a larger conflict with no plan because he suddenly realized that children are among the victims of war.

    I don’t trust Trump to use our forces wisely. At the same time, bombing an airfield isn’t a huge deterrent. It’s a pinprick.

    Also, if we told the Russians ahead of time, and the Russians told the Syrians, why didn’t the Syrians put a bunch of children on the airfield? Do I just have more evil dictator instincts than Assad?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  98. rachel says:

    @al-Ameda: Annoying Orange is a Republican president, you silly goose!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  99. grumpy realist says:

    @Yank: As said, it’s expensive performance art….

    And of course all the usual suspects in the media (yeah, I’m looking at YOU, CNN) and elsewhere (John McCain, Barbara Boxer) are peeing themselves in delight that America Is Strong Again and We’re Showing How This Is Very Very Important, etc. etc. and so forth.

    And yeah, I have no doubt but that Trump will now see his approval points go upwards. Which is all HE’S worried about.

    I swear, humanity is too stupid to live.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  100. Yank says:

    @grumpy realist: Yup. Pundits and politicians love airstrikes. It is another way of doing something without doing something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  101. Monala says:

    @Jack: No one thinks Putin and Trump are BFFs. People suspect that Putin is using Trump for his own ends, and that he has some hold over Trump (financial or otherwise) that leads Trump to often act on Putin’s behalf. But I doubt anyone thinks the two men like each other or trust each other, or wouldn’t find some way to shiv each other if it accomplishes their goals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  102. Gavrilo says:

    Now what?

    Now, we follow through with the severe consequences that John Kerry laid out in 2013 in the event that Assad broke the deal to remove all the chemical weapons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  103. MarkedMan says:

    Can anyone confirm the comment above that Trump notified the Russians but not the Congress? I thought that there were committee chairs (Defense?) that were routinely informed of all military operations?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  104. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    So, I’ll stand on my statement that this is theater that will change nothing and impress no one.

    Clearly morons like Jack are impressed…and Trump was starting to bleed base…so mission accomplished.

    Bigger picture…is this how this fool is gonna conduct policy? Based on the news cycle and his approval rating? I mean, last week he was fine with Assad. Comb-over Donnie, Tillerson, Haley…they all said so. Then overnight he is bombing them. If this is how foreign policy is going to be run it’s going to be a devastating four years for us and the rest of the world. The last thing anyone needs is a mad man running around with tiny hands and a huge arsenal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  105. grumpy realist says:

    @Gavrilo: How do you know that Assad didn’t remove all the chemical weapons and then turn around and make some more?

    And if you want to sign up for a war with Syria, be my guest. Write a letter to the POTUS saying you’re willing to have your taxes raised to pay for it, then march down to the local army recruiting office and sign up.

    Otherwise you’re just flapping your gums, like everyone else involved in this neocon circus.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  106. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:
  107. Pch101 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Gavrilo has an elaborate plan to keep his living room free of Sharia law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  108. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Thank you for that link…from which this comes:

    This is a president who once eviscerated his predecessor for meddling in Syria but has in a matter of days undergone a complete reversal and decided to lob a few dozen Tomahawk missiles at Assad; who ran as a populist but who also wants to cut taxes on the rich; who mercilessly attacked Goldman Sachs but then tapped several prominent people from the investment bank for his Cabinet and other senior positions; who promised no one would lose health insurance when ObamaCare was repealed but then pushed a bill that would have left 24 million fewer people insured; who spent two years denouncing existing free trade agreements but now can’t decide whether to break with existing trade policy.

    On policy, Trump is a fool and an incompetent the likes of which the United States has never seen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  109. grumpy realist says:

    @Yank: The WSJ is also peeing itself in delight at Trump’s “response.” Belligerent airstrikes, that’s wot they want!

    This is all starting to look like the mercenary armies running around Renaissance Italy having posed battles with each other. Pity about the peasants, right. So it has been and so it shall always be.

    Ironic that we’re just how having the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into WWI. Another case where when the war started everyone was convinced that it would be over in a few months, tops. Everyone hooraying and having parades and waving flags as the young men marched off to “honor and glory”.

    They used gas attacks in WWI as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  110. Mikey says:

    @grumpy realist:

    They used gas attacks in WWI as well.

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

    Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
    And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
    Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

    In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  111. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Pity about the peasants, right.

    55,000 kids have been killed in Syria, not including the ones who died as refugees.
    Trump just figured that out yesterday, apparently.
    And he still doesn’t want to take any Syrian refugees, I imagine.
    Just shoot off some bombs.
    Adolescent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  112. Jen says:

    Oh, good. CNN is reporting that the Pentagon is investigating whether Russia had a hand in the chemical attack. This will end well. What’s Trump going to do if that turns out to be the case?

    Doug noted in the Mitt Romney thread that Huntsman hasn’t been confirmed yet as the US Ambassador to Russia. Huntsman might want to rethink whether or not he wants that job, it sounds like it would be a thankless task.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  113. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    All the blocking and ignoring and filtering of the social media age has made us less able to discern what matters and what doesn’t and has left us unable to tolerate different viewpoints.

    I can’t recall ever blocking an Internet commenter (except for obvious spammers), but I should note that it isn’t the fault of the liberals here at OTB that the quality of right-leaning commenters here is very, very low. Most of the time they’re pure hit and run–they drop some factually untrue blather that the regular commenters promptly destroy with evidence and facts, and then they simply disappear. Jack here at least engages in some back and forth, but it’s clear he’s just regurgitating tired old talking points he picked up on Fox or talk radio or WND. In this and other threads, Jack has consistently shown himself to be perhaps the dumbest commenter here, and that’s saying something. He’s confused parody articles with real news reports, and he one time cited a George Carlin monologue that was mocking bloodthirsty attitudes on the right as an endorsement of that mindset. And keep in mind that the comment which provoked the suggestion to block him was a nasty, racist, sexist, transphobic insult against Michelle Obama. I’m not advocating censorship, but Jack’s commentary is about as useless as it gets, and that has nothing to do with being intolerant of conservative opinions. I wish we had more conservative commenters willing to engage in informed, civil discussion, but the simple fact is that we don’t.

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  114. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: Thanks for posting that. I wanted to add it, but didn’t remember enough of the poem to track it down.

    I would be nice if we could get some of the saner people from TAC to come over and engage us, but they seem to be having enough of a battle trying to take on the crazier parts of the conservative/neocon/alt-right movement.

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  115. grumpy realist says:

    Interesting bit from over at Balloon Juice:

    The United States, and specifically the Trump Administration, is now going to experience having Russia try to use the UN Security Council to turn the tables over the strikes against the al Shayrat Air Base. Whoever thought that coordinating the strike with the Russians, in order to deconflict the airspace, minimize damage, and conduct a symbolic attack to demonstrate US resolve, the ability to project force (which no one doubted), and deter future attacks was a good idea just got played for a fool. Putin and the Russian government are going to use this to beat the US about the head and shoulders to achieve their own objectives in the Levant and within the global system.

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  116. Scott says:

    @Mikey: My grandfather was in the British Army in WWI and was gassed. He lasted 30 more years into the 40s but he never really recovered. Had wound on leg that never really healed. I understand the visceral reaction to chemical weapons.

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  117. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Yup, the Trump supporters don’t know which way to go. ”

    Yep… can you imagine if Ms. Clinton was POTUS and did exactly the same?

    Fox would be exploding, Breitbart would be screaming impeachment, Drudge would be linking all the halt-right fury.

    Instead, we have the loyal Trumpsters spinning like a dervish.

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  118. Mikey says:

    @Scott:

    I understand the visceral reaction to chemical weapons.

    When I was in the Air Force, I had a job that meant full-time work with the Army. The Army took the chemical threat seriously and we did training on it. One of the training items was the infamous “goat movie.”

    Basically they took some animals, including the unfortunate goat, and exposed them to various nerve agents and filmed it. First it was some birds, then a couple rabbits, then one goat with a protective mask and one without. Needless to say, after watching that, one wanted nothing at all to do with nerve agent exposure. It was horrible.

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  119. teve tory says:

    Nah… All the blocking and ignoring and filtering of the social media age has made us less able to discern what matters and what doesn’t and has left us unable to tolerate different viewpoints.

    No this isn’t about differing viewpoints. James and Doug and Steven are way more conservative than I am, so obviously it’s not that. If I were in a poli sci class at my alma mater, and the lunatic from the streetcorner barged in and started shouting about the Trilateral Commission making women wear pants to turn them into lesbians and why don’t negroes take responsibility and Jesus is bringing Torment and Brimstone and Repent!!!!!111 Argle Bargle I would want him removed from the environment so we could continue having productive discussions. There are minimum standards which keep you from turning into 4chan, and Jack’s below those standards in my opinion. I expect most people will disagree, but over time that might change.

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  120. teve tory says:

    Although on the plus side Jack does us the useful service of demonstrating exactly how ignorant of facts and defective in personality one has to be to support trump. 95% of the people who read his comments come away thinking “I sure as shit don’t want to be that guy.”

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  121. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    I’m imagining the moment when you heard, “Party Specialist” and thought, “Hey, this Air Force career is going to be. . . wait, what was that first part?”

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  122. Gavrilo says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I’m certainly not interested in a war in Syria. But, Trump didn’t really have many options. Kerry (and Obama’s) epic failure of a deal in 2013 completely negated any chance of a “diplomatic” solution. What was Trump supposed to do? Make another deal with Putin so remove Assad’s chemical weapons. He had two choices, nothing or military action. And, it looks like the military strike last night was about as careful and minimal as humanly possible.

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  123. mannning says:

    Perhaps I give our military too much credit for planning , executing, and anticipating the next move in a conflict. In my own experience, however, I witnessed the planning part several times: within the military, that is: specifically in the Navy and Air Force. When you drag in the politicians you get chicken soup. And when you drag in intellectual elites you get an unpredictable mishmash, as in Vietnam. Since I have been away from the action for some time, I wonder whether the files full of contingency plans for just about every hotspot have been kept up-to-date.

    Certainly Syria was in our planning scope for years, and I would guess it really has been kept in shape, but, the citizenry here would not be kept informed of any plans, since only a fool would signal their next reaction or action.

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  124. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: Haha…back when I joined (mid-80s) almost nobody in the Air Force knew what that job was. TACPs are pretty much 100% assigned to Army forts. Today they have the high-speed web page and a recruitment push and if you say “I was a TACP” to an Air Force guy today they’re all “wow!” But back then, nobody had the first clue. All I even saw was a sparse job description pulled off a dot matrix printer. I still have no idea why I chose that job.

    I got to my training base after basic and went “what…the…actual…fvck…have…I…DONE????” It became apparent very quickly this was NOT the cushy Air Force for which I had signed up. I was in shock for several days. But then I figured, what the hell, I signed up for it, might as well make my best effort and if it truly sucked I could just sign up for a specialty change in a couple years.

    As it turned out, it was one of the best things I ever did, hands down. But at first, yeah, it was pretty much exactly as you put it.

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  125. grumpy realist says:

    Interesting article over at the Atlantic pointing out the Putin might have just been out-manoeuvred by Assad.

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  126. Lit3Bolt says:

    @michael reynolds:

    impress no one.

    You forget CNN, and the rest of the cable war fap squad.

    “This is War,” says James Earl Jones.

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  127. MBunge says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I do not think interesting means what you think it means. Russia had YEARS of Obama-ordered drone strikes to do exactly that. Didn’t amount to anything, did it?

    One of the things we’re going to have to figure out how to get past is the Perpetual Argument Industry 21st century communication technology has cursed us with. The constant appetite for content and allowing any chowderhead to chime in cripples our ability to recognize and accept the plain truth.

    Donald Trump is, believe it or not, a human being. He saw the results of the chemical attack in Syria and was outraged. He wanted to do something about it and since our political elite is full of bloody-handed war mongers, no one wanted to stop him.

    If this leads to a US war in Syria, that would be horrible. Of course, the status quo created and perpetuated by all those people who are supposed to be better than Donald Trump is, at best, only a little less horrible.

    And no one, not Trump or Putin or Assad or Europe or China…NO ONE has any kind of plan or strategy. There are no masterminds at work here, just a political elite who can’t grasp that the way things have always been done in their lifetime no longer works.

    Mike

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  128. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    Trump attacked Obama and Hillary mercilessly for doing exactly what he did today, with the difference that Obama sought at least a fig leaf of legality.

    Trump felt nothing for those Syrian kids. He is not capable of it. But he is capable of knowing that he needs a distraction, and wants to show Xi he’s a tough guy. And now the media has rewarded him for it, and his polls will bump up a few points, so we’ll have more of it.

    You think what we’ve had for the last 15 years is the worst this world has to offer? And you’re happy that a cretin of a game show host who couldn’t find Syria on a wall-sized map of Syria is in charge of the greatest destructive power on earth? You lack imagination.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  129. Pch101 says:

    It’s no wonder that Trump is trying to look like a tough guy.

    He sees his popularity at record lows for a new president and his legislative efforts foiled by the misnamed “Freedom Caucus.” So he has pivoted toward the GOP establishment that has a fondness for bombing stuff, knowing that he could use some friends in Congress and that flagwaving helps to boost approval ratings. Pretty cynical Shiite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  130. Jake says:

    Some real analysis

    http://www.thediplomad.com/2017/04/on-syria-morning-after.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  131. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod:

    Most of the time they’re pure hit and run–they drop some factually untrue blather that the regular commenters promptly destroy with evidence and facts, and then they simply disappear.

    Oh trust me, I see it too. But I’ve also experienced the pile-on first hand and have some idea why the “reasonable conservative” may not even want to wade in on a discussion except to troll.

    And keep in mind that the comment which provoked the suggestion to block him was a nasty, racist, sexist, transphobic insult against Michelle Obama.

    Yeah, I saw his comment too. It’s your choice how to respond, and among those choices is “Don’t respond at all,” which is a pretty good response to someone deliberately trying to push your buttons.

    I wish we had more conservative commenters willing to engage in informed, civil discussion, but the simple fact is that we don’t.

    I’d like an “informed, civil discussion” too but recognize that’s not always possible, especially in this day and age, when you can be “informed” but by bullshit and “civility” is often a call for conformity dancing around in civility’s clothes.

    @teve tory:

    There are minimum standards which keep you from turning into 4chan, and Jack’s below those standards in my opinion.

    And yet, I’ve seen another side of Jack, and while he does have some troll DNA (me too!), he’s not really a troll.

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  132. Jake says:
  133. @Kylopod: That’s a problem for Facebook and Twitter users, not for blog comments. One of the reasons that I love OTB commenter is precisely because Facebook ruined internet debate – you can block people that disagrees with you, and people loves to do that.

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  134. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kylopod:

    I wish we had more conservative commenters willing to engage in informed, civil discussion

    Cui bono?

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  135. Matt says:

    @James Pearce:

    Oh trust me, I see it too. But I’ve also experienced the pile-on first hand and have some idea why the “reasonable conservative” may not even want to wade in on a discussion except to troll.

    Yeah that’s basically it. I’m from a very religious and conservative background but I’m quite liberal on most things these days. So there are times when my views are more in line with reasonable conservatives and that’s generally when I get dog piled hard in the conversation. It’s frustrating because some people here will kick into full on assumption mode where suddenly the most extreme and ridiculous statement by a conservative is assigned to me. Others will simply ignore what you type and basically argue against the crazy conservative relative/friend they know.

    Having said that the liberals here do tend to be more forgiving of differing opinions than the typical conservative site. Tea party and hard right people will eject you as soon as you have a disagreement.

    I don’t even bother talking about politics on facebook as I would probably lose half my family and friends.

    @Stormy Dragon: I’ve always seen you as a libertarian leaning conservative.

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  136. JohnMcC says:

    @Mikey: I could tell an amazingly similar story from back in the ’60s; I ended up a paramedic. Jolly Greens. All that. But I’d toss in that from what I’ve seen of the ‘Indoc’ in this century — wow! — I’d never have made it. As Vonnegut knew: So it goes.

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  137. george says:

    @anjin-san:

    There are some great cartoons out there (I loved “Bugs Bunny” as a kid, and “The Flintstones” were pretty good too). And modern ones like “Shrek” are also excellent.

    Unfortunately, as you imply, its not a great idea to think that funny simplicity applies to the real world.

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  138. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Matt:

    I’ve always seen you as a libertarian leaning conservative.

    I haven’t really considered myself a libertarian for several years. I’d describe myself as “politically alienated” more than anything in particular.

    There aren’t conservatives interested in informed civil discussion, but if, for sake of argument, we assume this unicorn exists, what benefit would they gain from engaging with the commenters here?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  139. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Jack:Trump is just putting on a show to distract people from the Russian investigation. I do not for one minute believe that he cares about the Syrian people. This is the man who was joking in 2015 about Saddam throwing a little gas around. In 2013 he said Obama should not go ahead without Congress and even then nothing would be accomplished by striking Assad.

    I think it is a game. And what has he got to lose? Everyone hates Assad. But I don’t think for one minute that Trump is going to adopt an actual policy in regards to Syria. This is all just a show.

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  140. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Jake: Levin? Sad. You are sad.

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  141. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Gavrilo: What was Trump supposed to do? Do people have no memory at all? Trump did not support going after Assad. Ever. At any time. He did not even have a problem with Saddam gassing the Kurds. It is not as if he has spent years demanding that we stop that evil man and set those people free. He was one of the people demanding we do NOTHING for years.

    He just wants to stop the chatter about Russia and get his poll numbers up. This is probably what we can expect every time he is up against a wall…go bomb somebody. But it is not as if he has a policy or a long term plan or an actual strategy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  142. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Jack:

    I believe Kim Jong Un is changing his overly large diapers about now.

    Hold on tight to your dreams (and be thankful that Kim doesn’t have actual ICBMs and chemical or nuclear weapons to put on them).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  143. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: I don’t think NK is scared of Trump. They were not scared of the USA when we were invading Iraq and going after AlQaida in Afghanistan. Kim Jong Un fed his own uncle to a pack of starving dogs. He probably gave the order to kill his brother. He is like the honey badger, he don’t care. Saddam did not care. Hitler did not care. Truly crazy dictators never do.

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  144. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Anyone interested in the truth gains from open discussions. So, you’re right, conservatives would gain nothing.

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  145. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    But I’ve also experienced the pile-on first hand and have some idea why the “reasonable conservative” may not even want to wade in on a discussion except to troll.

    Agreed. And it’s a problem that feeds on itself: the more the people here get used to the idea that right-leaning commenters are mostly just obnoxious hit-and-run trolls, the less they are inclined to bother engaging with them.

    Yeah, I saw his comment too. It’s your choice how to respond, and among those choices is “Don’t respond at all,” which is a pretty good response to someone deliberately trying to push your buttons.

    I wasn’t one of the people who responded. Like you suggested, I ignored it. I have responded to Jack in the past (I was the one who exposed him a couple of years ago when one of his sources turned out to be a parody piece), but I make a point of trying not to get dragged down into insult-fests.

    I’d like an “informed, civil discussion” too but recognize that’s not always possible, especially in this day and age, when you can be “informed” but by bullshit and “civility” is often a call for conformity dancing around in civility’s clothes.

    Well, you’re looking at a guy who began this discussion sarcastically mocking Eric Florack and ended it by calling Jack a moron. I’m not arguing that people should decline to call ’em as they see ’em out of fear of offending someone. But I wish there was more effort–by both sides–to engage in what commenters on the other side believe. Heck, on other sites I’ve gotten into real discussions even with Trump supporters, a group I really have trouble respecting. That’s about impossible here, and while you can fault the liberals here for sometimes piling on, the biggest problem is that the right these days is enclosed in a bubble of not just rank misinformation, but an absolute certainty that the other side is a pathetic joke. When you see the snarky comments of Jack, Guarneri, Bill, and the rest, what you’re seeing isn’t a sincere effort to “prove” their point of view, much less to engage in a debate. It’s to laugh at the weenie libtards we all self-evidently are. These commenters are literally unable to comprehend the possibility that the liberals here can intelligently defend themselves, because they’ve been brainwashed into believing that’s utterly impossible. So they’re blind to the color red even when the color red is staring straight at them. It really is that bad, and I don’t see much we can do about it.

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  146. Pch101 says:

    It’s tough to take American conservatism seriously when it insists on claiming to be “pro-life” as it supports the death penalty and depriving people of healthcare and in favor of “small government” as it seeks to shove its homophobia, chauvinism and narrow version of religion down everyone else’s throat.

    You simply can’t have an honest discussion with a group that routinely uses Orwellian double speak as part of its MO. They’re dishonest to begin with, which is why they rely on fake news and cliched slogans rather than data and reality.

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  147. Stormy Dragon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Seems to me that whatever truth is to be found in the discussion here can just as easily be obtained by observing it silently. What else would our unicorn obtain from participation?

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  148. KM says:

    @Matt:

    I’m from a very religious and conservative background but I’m quite liberal on most things these days. So there are times when my views are more in line with reasonable conservatives and that’s generally when I get dog piled hard in the conversation.

    And that’s the problem with being relatively sane in a party of nuts. You’re expected to be able to defend the crazy, whether that’s fair to you or not. Since people can talk to you with argle-bargle flowing like water, it paints a target on you for everyone with a question, nipick or gripe because you will answer in understand English and actual debatable logic.

    It’s not an intent to punish nor ostracize. It’s the simple function of who you are and were. The translator / bilingual speaker always gets the stupidest questions because they speak both languages.

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