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Douglas Carpenter

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Corry (Erie County), Pennsylvania 16407
Home country: USA
Current location: Saipan, U.S. Commonweath of the Northern Mariana Islands
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2005, 08:56 PM
Number of posts: 18,674

Journal Archives

the problem with quotes on the internet

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sat Sep 14, 2013, 02:13 PM (7 replies)

I support the Democratic Party because....

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sat Sep 14, 2013, 12:03 PM (12 replies)

Nixon Library's Oral History with George McGovern

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Fri Sep 13, 2013, 09:20 AM (1 replies)

Liberals arguing that the U.S. should give weapons to Syrian rebels underestimate Assad's power

This article is from more than a year ago - but I think the points are still very, very relevant. I strongly recommend reading this article in full - in salon.com by Gary Kamiya:



This is not a knee-jerk left-wing response. It has nothing to do with Iraq. Nor does it have anything to do with the proxy war between the U.S. and its allies and Iran and its allies. It is not driven by pacifism or opposition to all war. All U.S. wars are not axiomatically foolish, evil or driven by brutal self-interest (although most of them since World War II have been). The airstrikes on Kosovo and the Libya campaign were justified (although the jury is still out on the latter intervention). If arming the Syrian opposition would result in fewer deaths and a faster transition to a peaceful, open, democratic society, we should arm them.

That analysis has been provided by a number of in-depth reports, most notably a new study by the International Crisis Group, as well as the excellent on-the-ground reporting of Nir Rosen for Al-Jazeera. The bottom line is simple. The war has become a zero-sum game for Assad. If he loses, he dies. But the only way he can lose is if he is abandoned by his crucial external patron, Russia, which is extremely unlikely to happen absent some slaughter so egregious that Moscow feels it has to cut ties with him. Assad has sufficient domestic support to hold on for a long time, and a huge army that is not likely to defect en masse. Under these circumstances, giving arms to the rebels, however much it may make conscience-stricken Western observers feel better, will simply make the civil war much bloodier and its outcome even more chaotic and dangerous.

The key point concerns Assad’s domestic support. Contrary to the widely held belief that most Syrians support the opposition and are opposed to the Assad regime, Syrians are in fact deeply divided. The country’s minorities – the ruling Alawites, Christians and Druze – tend to support the regime, if only because they fear what will follow its downfall. (The grocery on my corner in San Francisco is owned by a Christian Syrian from a village outside Damascus. When I asked him what he thought about what was going on in his country, he said, “It’s not like what you see on TV. Assad is a nice guy. He’s trying to do the right thing.”) As Rosen makes clear, Syria’s ruling Alawite minority is the key to Assad’s survival: Absent an outside invasion, the regime will not fall unless the Alawites turn on it. But the Alawites fear reprisals if the Sunni-dominated opposition, some of whose members have threatened to “exterminate the Alawites,” defeats the Assad regime. The fear of a sectarian war, exacerbated by the murky and incoherent nature of the opposition, means that the minorities are unlikely to join the opposition in large numbers.


Our national instinct is to come riding to the rescue. It goes against our character to simply sit on our hands. Our sincere, naive and self-centered belief that America can fix everything, and our equally sincere, naive and self-centered belief that moral outrage justifies intervention, is a powerful tide, pulling us toward getting directly involved in Syria’s civil war.

But in the real world, we cannot always come riding to the rescue. Sometimes, we have no choice but to watch tragedy unfold, because anything we do will create an even bigger tragedy.


Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Thu Sep 12, 2013, 08:45 AM (4 replies)

New York Times Oped - On Syria Vote, Trust, but Verify By ALAN GRAYSON

WASHINGTON — THE documentary record regarding an attack on Syria consists of just two papers: a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified summary. The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion

But by refusing to disclose the underlying data even to members of Congress, the administration is making it impossible for anyone to judge, independently, whether that statement is correct. Perhaps the edict of an earlier administration applies: “Trust, but verify.”

The danger of the administration’s approach was illustrated by a widely read report last week in The Daily Caller, which claimed that the Obama administration had selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes in Syria, with one report “doctored so that it leads a reader to just the opposite conclusion reached by the original report.”

The allegedly doctored report attributes the attack to the Syrian general staff. But according to The Daily Caller, “it was clear that ‘the Syrian general staff were out of their minds with panic that an unauthorized strike had been launched by the 155th Brigade in express defiance of their instructions.’ ”

I don’t know who is right, the administration or The Daily Caller. But for me to make the correct decision on whether to allow an attack, I need to know. And so does the American public.

read full article:

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sat Sep 7, 2013, 07:56 PM (4 replies)

given that we Americans are against military intervention in Syria - at least mainstream Americans

by significant majorities - The same can be said among almost all of our western allies. How can it be that some people talk like this is some bizarre convergence of crackpot leftist and crackpot rightest - When we are in the solid majority?

You take a look at the polls yourself. Or better yet just ask the next five persons you see if they support military intervention in Syria or if they think we should stay out of it.

I just don't get it, how can the vast majority be the fringe?

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sat Sep 7, 2013, 06:47 PM (19 replies)

What do you believe is the main factor driving the U.S. toward military action against Syria?

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sat Sep 7, 2013, 06:17 AM (14 replies)

The days of guns and butter are over! There simply is no market for the Democrats to be the war

party anymore - or the surveillance party for that matter.

Yes I realize that historically speaking - the Democratic Party was THE party during World War I and World War II and it was essentially the party that established the cold war with the Soviet Union. It was the party that led the U.S. into Korea and massively escalated the war in Vietnam. It was the party of the Bay of Pigs and the party of the Cuban Missile crisis and the party of numerous adventures in Latin America and elsewhere.

From the bombing of Pearl Harbor until the Tet Offensive in 1968 - opposing American foreign policy was simply outside the mainstream of common debate and existed only on the fringes of the Democratic Party. AS the Vietnam War widened under Nixon into a broader Indochina War- and with no longer a Democratic Administration needing a loyal Democratic cadre and Congress to shield them from criticism and along with the revelations of Watergate - the popular grassroots level of the Democratic Party ceased being the party of war and the party of surveillance defenders and apologist.

I suppose in the in the Aftermath of September 11, 2001 - a state of political paralysis and confusion confounded the Democratic Party and made it difficult for it political leaders to be highly critical of either military action or surveillance activities. The fear of being labeled as "soft on terrorism" led many Democrats from boldly defying the beating of the war drums or raise questions about intrusions into civil liberties in the post September 11 atmosphere.

We can thank the utter ineptitude of the Bush/Cheney team for making the nation war weary and highly skeptical of foreign military adventuresome. Now we see the isolationist wing of the Republican Party growing in strength from a tiny fringe to a significant presence.

There simply are not enough people out there who are socially liberal and economically progressive who also war hawks and surveillance state apologist. Most war hawks and surveillance state apologist are going to vote Republican anyway. As we see clearly now they are not going to the Democrats a break just because they drop some bombs and send some missiles to attack some annoying enemy somewhere in the world. They didn't give Clinton that break and they sure the hell are not giving Obama that break either.

The only hope the Democratic Party has in continuing to win the young and to appeal to America's shifting demographics and to build a solid and long term Democratic majority is for the Democratic Party to establish itself clearly and unambiguously as the party that makes America socially just at home and at peace with he world. - the party that keep us out of wars and protects our privacy and civil liberties.
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Fri Sep 6, 2013, 01:44 PM (1 replies)

A Syrian women confronts John McCain at Phoenix town hall event

For those of you who have not seen this yet --

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Fri Sep 6, 2013, 12:05 PM (0 replies)

Vladimir Putin: gay people are not discriminated against in Russia

Russian president seeks to allay fears ahead of 2014 Winter Olympics but officials say new anti-gay law will still be enforced

Vladimir Putin: 'I assure you that I work with these people, I sometimes award them with state prizes for their achievements.' Photograph: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

The president insisted that gay people were not discriminated against in his country.

"I assure you that I work with these people, I sometimes award them with state prizes or decorations for their achievements in various fields," Putin said in an interview with Associated Press and Russia's state Channel 1 television. "We have absolutely normal relations and I don't see anything out of the ordinary here."

He added that Russians loved Tchaikovsky even though the composer was said to have been homosexual. "Truth be told, we don't love him because of that, but he was a great musician and we all love his music," Putin said.

Putin offered to meet members of the gay and lesbian community if they asked to see him.

The law on "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations," which Putin signed in July, makes it illegal to expose minors to information that portrays homosexual relationships as normal or attractive. The law imposes hefty fines, while also subjecting foreign citizens to up to 15 days in prison.

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Wed Sep 4, 2013, 03:21 AM (8 replies)
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