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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: 18,611

Journal Archives

Just another cog in the machine

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Mon Sep 2, 2013, 11:24 AM (6 replies)

Young Republicans salute labor -- On this Labor Day

57 years ago

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Mon Sep 2, 2013, 10:47 AM (16 replies)

Saudi Arabia backs US strike against Syria

Source: Al Jazeera

Saudi Arabia has said it is time for the world to do everything it could to prevent aggression against the Syrian people, and that it would back a US strike on Syria if the Syrian people did.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal made his comments on Sunday as the United States awaits a final decision on strikes against the Syrian government for an alleged chemical gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians.

"We call upon the international community with all its power to stop this aggression against the Syrian people," Faisal said in Cairo, where he was attending a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers to discuss Syria.

Read more: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/09/20139114581262102.html
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sun Sep 1, 2013, 03:20 PM (34 replies)

I hope this is a step toward returning to Congress the war making and war declaring authority

established clearly and unambiguously by the Constitution of the United States. For far too long the Constitution has been ignored on this matter by administrations from both parties with the acquiescence of both parties in Congress.

I congratulate President Obama for taking this bold step. I hope the U.S. Congress disapproves military action against Syria. But I will be somewhat surprised if they do not approve military strikes. But equally or perhaps even more importantly, I hope this establishes a precedent that the Constitutional authority of Congress will be restored to its rightful position and never again will military action be taken except in the most extreme of bona fide emergencies without the approval of Congress as required by the U.S. Constitution.
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sat Aug 31, 2013, 02:22 PM (26 replies)

Britain won't be joining and huge majorities of Americans oppose it. It doesn't matter

Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 02:22 AM +1000

No one wants it, but we’ll have a little war anyway

By Alex Pareene for salon.com

Credit: AP/Abdullah Al-yassin)

Barack Obama is president now because he opposed a war, from the start. I imagine Ed Miliband knows this. I think he also knows that his Labour colleague Tony Blair is among the most reviled people in Great Britain, a nation that really knows how to revile. So Miliband, the leader of the U.K. opposition, blocked a vote in the House of Commons on using military force against Syria, enraging Prime Minister David Cameron and likely pleasing the majority of Britons who are opposed to action.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that if this were the 1990s, the entire Western community (Western Europe and us) would already be bombing by now, likely without much public or political outcry. But the Iraq nightmare, from the cooked intelligence to the shifting rationales to the horrific occupation to the inevitable slinking away in defeat, ruined the whole game. It’s a lot harder now to pretend that dropping bombs on far-off lands can ever be neat, “surgical” and strictly “humanitarian.” (And dear U.K. Defense Secretary Philip Hammond, this is not helping your case much.) Now the U.K.’s out, and if (when) the U.S. and France go at it, it will likely be without the approval of the United States Congress. (Though you never know, Congress can usually be brought around to supporting a war. The Senate mostly loves the idea already. It’s just a question of whether the White House wants to bother waiting for a vote.)

The antiwar left has some small reason to be grateful for Blair and Bush, for making the citizens of two countries much more dovish, to the point that even a “limited” missile strike campaign is politically toxic. Whether you support a campaign or not, what the president is planning is vastly different, in its scope and its goal, from Iraq. But Americans don’t care. They’re just done. But opposition to war, like support for soaking the rich, is one of those widely popular policies that seldom trickle up to elite elected officials. Our antiwar president (who was never actually antiwar, we all know this, right?) is leading the current charge. It’s not hard to imagine that a Prime Minister Miliband, as opposed to an opposition leader Miliband, would be right there with him.

Right now liberals (and the political press) are letting people like Rand Paul meet the demand for America to have a less “muscular” foreign presence. (This isn’t really surprising: Liberal antiwar voices are pretty much always marginalized in the United States, by both hawkish Democrats and the press,) The right-wing interventionists are terrified at how much his position resonates with people. But I’d put money on the next presidential election involving two supporters of military action against Syria.


Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Fri Aug 30, 2013, 04:13 PM (0 replies)

Is there anyone here who doesn't believe a U.S. military strike in Syria is at hand?

Whether advisable or insane, right or wrong - and to what extent will the military campaign go and what will be the short term and long term outcome? - Those are all quite speculative - But does anyone think that it is not going to happen and happen soon?
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Tue Aug 27, 2013, 07:32 PM (7 replies)

when it comes to Syria, above all do no harm

This article was written more than a year ago at a time when no one was even discussing in public even the possibility of direct military intervention. But the basic points are the same. I strongly recommend reading this article in salon.com by Gary Kamiya:

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



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 | Mon Aug 26, 2013, 08:48 PM (2 replies)

What would be the most likely consequences of U.S. Military Strikes in Syrian?

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Mon Aug 26, 2013, 09:44 AM (23 replies)

Syria will let inspectors go to site of suspected chemical weapons attack, official says

Source: CNN

Syria has agreed to allow weapons inspectors full access to any site of a purported chemical weapons attack, effective immediately, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad tells CNN's Fred Pleitgen.

As Western powers try to verify claims that Syria deployed chemical weapons last week in a Damascus suburb, the government is pointing the finger at rebel forces.

They are pointing it back, accusing the government of gassing hundreds of people to death.

United Nations inspectors in Syria, attempting to gather information, say that Syria has not permitted them to visit the site of the attack.

In the meantime, the Pentagon has sent four warships armed with cruise missiles to the region.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/25/world/meast/syria-civil-war/index.html?hpt=hp_c2
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sun Aug 25, 2013, 09:09 AM (11 replies)

I think we are fortunately still a ways from being an authoritarian state. And I am probably one

of the most vehement in denouncing the surveillance state. . In a real authoritarian states I would be in jail and so would most of the posters on this forum. We still manage to have many basic democratic forms and a fair degree of rule of law however corrupted the democracy may be and however corrupted the rule of law actually cashes out to be in the real world. Visit a real authoritarian state where the police and the intelligence networks really do act with impunity all the time and the courts really are a joke and you will see what I mean. And by the way I have spent close to half life in real authoritarian states - so I do have some perspective on the matter.

My concern and condemnation of the ever increasing surveillance industrial complex is not so much a concern that some agent X is observing my funny little ways so they can blackmail me into only saying nice things about the power structure - I am really not losing a whole lot of sleep about that. My concerns is the realization that this amount of total full spectrum information gathering combined with almost limitless possibilities of technological enhancements operating in secrecy with very little accountability is creating a very centralized institution that will inevitably became a dangerous power in its own right. Although we are still a long way from life in a real authoritarian state - I cannot imagine any scenario in which we can continue down this road of ever expanding surveillance capabilities operating with the most advanced computer technology the world has ever known in an atmosphere of largely unaccountable secrecy and not create an institution that is a dangerous power in its own right - perhaps operating outside of the control of the official state. This is what will almost certainly happen if the situation is not brought under control soon.
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Fri Aug 23, 2013, 04:24 PM (14 replies)
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