Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

Alan Grayson

(485 posts)
Mon Sep 2, 2013, 11:47 PM Sep 2013

Grayson on Syria: "This Literally Has Nothing to Do With Us"

As the debate regarding a U.S. military attack on Syria shifts to Congress, Congressman Alan Grayson was back on national TV on Sunday, forcefully arguing against war:

Fredricka Whitfield: Joining me from Orlando, Florida Congressman Alan Grayson opposes any intervention in Syria at all. So, after hearing the President yesterday, Mr. Congressman, did the President say anything to change your mind?

Congressman Alan Grayson: No. It’s not our responsibility. It’s not going to do any good. It’s dangerous. And it’s expensive.

Fredricka: And what do you mean by that, when you say it won’t do any good, when you hear Secretary Kerry spell out that letting a dictator like Assad go with impunity means that it sends a message to other dictators who might have chemical weapons that they could harm their people as well?

Alan: Well, actually, there are only four countries in the world that have chemical weapons, and the largest is the United States. So are we trying to “send a message” to ourselves? That’s not logical. I’ve heard that theory before, that somehow one country’s actions will affect another country, and another country, and another country. It’s just the “domino argument” (from the Vietnam War) again. We’ll call it the “bomb-ino argument” here. It’s just not logical. It doesn’t make any sense.

Fredricka: So when the President and Secretary of State say that Syria threatens national security and that it behooves the United States to do something, you still say that this is not a national security issue?

Alan: Absolutely not. And there are a huge number of Americans who agree with me. We set up a website called “DontAttackSyria.com," and got over 10,000 signatures in less than 24-hours. The polls show that people understand that this literally has nothing to do with us. We are not the world’s policeman. We can’t afford this anymore, these military adventures that lead us into more than a decade of war. It’s wrong. We need to cut it off, before it even happens.

Fredricka: Is it at least comforting then to you, that the President, though he said he thinks justifiably that the U.S. should strike, still wants to hear Congressional approval? Is that any comfort to you, that he wants Congress to be thoughtful about this, and to give the green light or not?

Alan: Yes. In fact, the British went through the same process a few days ago and they came to the right conclusion. We’re not the world’s policeman. We’re not the world’s judge, jury, and executioner. No one else in the world does things like this, and there’s no reason why we should. We’ve got 20 million people in this country who are looking for full-time work. Let’s tend our own garden, for a change.

Fredricka: Now, you mention your website DontAttackSyria.com and that there are a number of signatures, a number of people on board with your point of view, but what about fellow Members of Congress? Where do you believe their allegiance will fall?

Alan: Their allegiance will fall with what makes sense for them in representing their districts. In my district, if you ask people, “Where does Syria fall in your list of concerns?” it wouldn’t even be in the top 100. We would have to spend the billion dollars that this attack will cost, according to British authorities. The billion dollars that this attack will cost, that money is better spent on our schools, our roads, our bridges, our health care, and so on and so forth.

Fredricka: So if you had the opportunity to make your case to the President, what would it be? We understand that Senator McCain will be spending some one-on-one time with the President tomorrow. Senator McCain has been saying for a very long time that the U.S. needs to act. If you had that kind of face-to-face time with the President, what would you say to him as to why the U.S. should not go through with this – whether it has allies or whether it means going in alone?

Alan: Well, in fact, all the indications are that we will be going in alone. Even French public opinion is overwhelmingly against this, and the French were the only ones entertaining this possibility. It should tell the President something that when he is trying to vindicate so-called “international norms,” that there are 196 countries in the world and no one else, NO ONE, wants to do anything like this. But what I would tell the President is, first, that no Americans have been attacked. None of our allies have been attacked. It’s an unfortunate circumstance, but there are lots of unfortunate circumstances in the world. In Burma, for example, there is now a civil war that started 10 years before I was born, and twelve Presidents have resisted the impulse to interfere in the Burmese Civil War, even though far more people have died in the Burmese Civil War than in the Syrian Civil War. And I could give you countless other examples. Sometimes the highest international norm, the one to respect the most, is to mind your own business. And in this case, military intervention simply won’t do any good. No one thinks that we’re going to determine the outcome of the Syrian Civil War by lobbing a few missiles into Damascus. No one thinks that we will degrade or even eliminate the possibility of future chemical attacks by doing so. And in doing so, we’ll be wasting a lot of money, and we’ll be opening ourselves up to a counterattack. People forget this, but the U.S. Embassy in Beirut is 15 miles away from the Syrian border, and just down the block from Hezbollah. So if we attack them, and then they attack us, I think people can see where this is headed.

Fredricka: Congressman Alan Grayson, thanks so much, from Orlando today. We appreciate it.

Alan: Thank you.

Congressman Alan Grayson – you know where he stands. If you want to make your voice heard, then join our petition at www.DontAttackSyria.com. Tell your friends and neighbors, too. Time is running out.
22 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Grayson on Syria: "This Literally Has Nothing to Do With Us" (Original Post) Alan Grayson Sep 2013 OP
With all do respect. sheshe2 Sep 2013 #1
I think both your and Alan's points are well-made, but coming from a different place. freshwest Sep 2013 #3
Your posts are sheshe2 Sep 2013 #18
Did he say we were? Or was he answering the question that directly preceded his answer: Dragonfli Sep 2013 #5
That was my first thought. Daniel537 Sep 2013 #21
Grayson's right newfie11 Sep 2013 #2
Let's ask the questions coming opposite directions, too. freshwest Sep 2013 #6
IDK if Assad will get bolder and expand his warfare newfie11 Sep 2013 #13
Exactly Congressman. DeSwiss Sep 2013 #4
The meek shall inhereit the earth Iliyah Sep 2013 #7
Wanna see a lightning quick end to the beating of the war drum? Moostache Sep 2013 #8
Love it! Iliyah Sep 2013 #9
Yep. DeSwiss Sep 2013 #10
HAHAHA! My dream come true. Back to Eisenhower rates! freshwest Sep 2013 #11
That's what SHOULD happen! polichick Sep 2013 #17
No disrespect intended BUT why the heck do ALL the hyper-links up in OP ask for donations? Tx4obama Sep 2013 #12
Thank you, Rep. Grayson! Faryn Balyncd Sep 2013 #14
Yup... just like the Sudetenland and Rheinland whistler162 Sep 2013 #15
I love Alan Grayson SmittynMo Sep 2013 #16
K&R forestpath Sep 2013 #19
Thanks, Mr Grayson! BlueMTexpat Sep 2013 #20
kr Norrin Radd Sep 2013 #22

sheshe2

(84,569 posts)
1. With all do respect.
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 12:39 AM
Sep 2013
Alan: Well, actually, there are only four countries in the world that have chemical weapons, and the largest is the United States. So are we trying to “send a message” to ourselves? That’s not logical. I’ve heard that theory before, that somehow one country’s actions will affect another country, and another country, and another country. It’s just the “domino argument” (from the Vietnam War) again. We’ll call it the “bomb-ino argument” here. It’s just not logical. It doesn’t make any sense.


Is America gassing her people?

freshwest

(53,661 posts)
3. I think both your and Alan's points are well-made, but coming from a different place.
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 02:20 AM
Sep 2013

We have more chemical, biological, conventional, non-conventional and nuclear weapons than anyone else. This is the old MAD game that we have been trying to move away from. Obama has said nuclear disarmament is necessary.

But history shows us that the unexpected and the unwanted often happen. The stance that the West took after WW2, which was the bloodiest conflict in human history, was that they would never be caught off guard again.

From whom, we might ask ourselves. When NATO was formed, the next bad actor was seen as Russia. Was it from differing economic values or the actual practices of the rulers of the USSR that were so offensive?

We have a generation now that did not observe people being gunned down trying to escape East Germany and what the Stasi was doing there. The Berlin Wall fell and Germany was reunited before many were born. They don't believe there is any danger. Instead, they see the militarization of the West as the main thread to world peace.

And that the econmoic dominance of the West is also an oppressive factor that leads to war. There are many wars that we never see, that are worse, believe it or not, than we have committed, but they were not given media attention. There is the rape of the natural world for resources and the open slaughter of the native peoples and poor of many countries that our media does not talk about.

We think we're oppressed when told to get off the sidewalk, or our homes are being foreclosed, or we are in debt or without a job. Those are first world problems, while the third world is being slaughtered like insects in a bug zapper.

It's too much to wrap our minds around so we say we don't care. Alan speaks of blowback from these military actions. Is there not blowback by the displacement of those around the world who have to flee to another country to live? And the destruction of the vital resources of the planet like water, air, genetic diversity and soil? Is there not going to be blowback from what is happening in the region around Syria right now, even if we don't act?

We are tired of war and not able to pay for them. FDR said that if the USA is not at peace internally there will be no peace in the world. So Grayson believes a return to liberal values and making our own people feel safe and secure in their lives is a necessity, perhaps a way to have peace.

Toning down preparing for war might put more energy into peaceful alternatives. Obama's green initiatives for freeing us of having to buy 'oil from dictators' as some call it, is sound.

If we don't buy their oil, they might be hurt, but not necessarily and not change their ways. Also, if we want their oil we should pay a fair price, not buy low and sell dear as the energy firms have been doing. It is about their profits, but they exist to feed our lack of innovation and our continuing energy needs.

Now China is ready to take the oil we don't get. Can they be counted on to be peaceful and not attack anyone? IDK.

As far as the question of 'are we gassing our people' that is very direct but almost too simple for many to understand. I do. We are not doing so, nor are our allies - we think. Assad our his enemies are doing this.

Another thing not in this OP is that Alan admits that we do have this duty under terms of NATO. I believe that is what PBO is referrring and he also means the authority on the moral standards of not doing this. NATO hasn't yet declared this situation to be at the level of an Article 5 violation against a NATO member. Turkey is adamant that Assad be removed, and Turkey is NATO. But Syria and Russia are not.

I'm loving what Alan says here, but also agree with Obama. They are both doing their jobs in good faith. Let the debate keep on until the Congress makes its decision. I just hope that they make the right one, and I'm sure that Obama will do what is needed. It may not be military.

I feel that Alan's call for bringing charges against Assad at the ICC are not realistic. Assad is fighting for his life now, with rebels now controlling portions of Syria's capital city. This is approaching burning the White House status for him.

What I want to know and that media will not tell us is why is the civil war going on in the first place? Is there a right side as far as doing the most humane things there?

And what of the question of weapons of war, of the intelligence groups who feel the world is too hard to keep up, so they must fight to know more?

That's it for now Sheshe.

sheshe2

(84,569 posts)
18. Your posts are
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 12:09 PM
Sep 2013

as always calm, thoughtful and informative.

This whole situation is not black a white. There are so many shades of gray. I am so torn on this, it breaks my heart.

Thank you freshwest.

Dragonfli

(10,622 posts)
5. Did he say we were? Or was he answering the question that directly preceded his answer:
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 02:28 AM
Sep 2013
when you hear Secretary Kerry spell out that letting a dictator like Assad go with impunity means that it sends a message to other dictators who might have chemical weapons that they could harm their people as well?


Why did you purposefully take his answer out of context and use it out of context to put words in his mouth by implying he thought the US would use them on it's own people when taken in context it was obvious that Kerry made the absurd implication that if we don't escalate the conflict the United States and the other two besides Syria to possess them would be likely to use them on their people (The US being the owner of the largest stockpile of the 4 the message was being sent to, the UK being the 2nd largest)

Shameful and dishonest. Taking the answer out of context while omitting the question to make up a point is an old FOX trick, you should be ashamed of your dishonesty here.
 

Daniel537

(1,560 posts)
21. That was my first thought.
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 01:45 PM
Sep 2013

Most of his argument boils down to just pure apathy, and that's not what progressives should be projecting in light of such mass slaughter.

newfie11

(8,159 posts)
2. Grayson's right
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 02:01 AM
Sep 2013

Look at the countries that have said they will retaliate. If Israel is hit, we will be pulled into a very nasty holy war and probably 3 WW.

This is not something we need to get involved in. When most of our allies are refusing to be pulled into this, it should be a flashing sign we are going the wrong direction if we continue.

freshwest

(53,661 posts)
6. Let's ask the questions coming opposite directions, too.
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 02:30 AM
Sep 2013

If Assad gets away with what he'd doing now, would he do more and then get to Israel later to garner regional support for his regime?

I've known people who fled from Lebanon who claimed the civil war there was part of Assad's 'Greater Syria' scheme. They said he supplied those who sought to topple the government and ruin their homeland.

In other words, he was expanding his territory by proxy warfare. IDK what people would say about these claims today. They were made back when it was happening.

Would our refusal to attack Syria result in more boldness on his part and then he would attack Israel and start WW3?

You know the Endtimers must be having a picnic over this entire thing. Any action that is near the state of Israel gets them more encouraged about the Second Coming. I think 'I'madinnerjacket' also has fantasies about 'bringing the kingdom of heaven by force,' too.

Anyway, I'd love to stay out of this one. Wonder if anyone has thought about the blow back from our walking away from NATO if that's what this means.



newfie11

(8,159 posts)
13. IDK if Assad will get bolder and expand his warfare
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 06:21 AM
Sep 2013

If we do nothing now. No one does and that's the point. It is pretty clear with all the warnings from other countries that it will set off WW3.

Why not wait to see what happens now and if things escalate we can too.

 

DeSwiss

(27,137 posts)
4. Exactly Congressman.
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 02:28 AM
Sep 2013
''So when the President and Secretary of State say that Syria threatens national security....''

That's their opinion and they're welcome to it, but they haven't PROVEN A DAMNED THING. Just opinions like our last wars. Screw that.

- It doesn't give anyone the right to start killing people. And that's all this will do.

K&R


''What is one to do when, in order to rule men, it is necessary to deceive them?''
~Helena Blavatsky

Moostache

(9,920 posts)
8. Wanna see a lightning quick end to the beating of the war drum?
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 02:42 AM
Sep 2013

Threaten to shut down the government unless taxes are RAISED to cover every new bomb or weapon deployed...and mae the tax effective on only corporations and the top 1% of income earners (including Congressmen, Senators and Justices)...

This march to war would do a very quick 180....

freshwest

(53,661 posts)
11. HAHAHA! My dream come true. Back to Eisenhower rates!
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 03:32 AM
Sep 2013

But with half the Amercian population whining 'Don't Tax Me, Bro!' they keep on getting a pass. Brainwashed.



Tax Comparison: Obama vs Reagan, Nixon, Eisenhower

March 13, 2009

...The media has been obsessing about President Obama's plan to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans - from 35% to 39.6%.

But I was surprised to learn that the tax rate the wealthiest Americans paid on the top portion of their earnings at the end of Ronald Reagan's first term was much higher - 50%.

Under Richard Nixon it was 70%, and under Dwight Eisenhower it was actually 91%.


http://politics.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977623449

NOTE:

Low, low taxes preceded the Great Depression. Higher taxes to get the nation back on its feet from that collapse through the New Deal.

Higher taxes, said to have been at the insistence of General Eisenhower to make those who made fortunes manufacturing equipment for WW2 pay it back.

Then the tax rate went down under GOP POTUS and then dipped again during Clinton because Gingrich held the nation hostage and actually did shut down government.

Then when Obama wants to get back a little, they squealed like pigs and then pushed the Tea Party for that one purpose, IMO, to get there in time to stop the sunsetting of the Bush tax cuts. And they fought over it and then the Sequester came out of it. What a mess.

Tx4obama

(36,974 posts)
12. No disrespect intended BUT why the heck do ALL the hyper-links up in OP ask for donations?
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 03:45 AM
Sep 2013

Last edited Sat Sep 7, 2013, 01:11 AM - Edit history (1)


Are you here to spread information OR here only to raise money for yourself?

I am very disappointed in your OP

I totally expected the hyper-links to take me to a page with info regarding each statement.

Shame shame shame.


 

whistler162

(11,155 posts)
15. Yup... just like the Sudetenland and Rheinland
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 06:57 AM
Sep 2013

had nothing to do with us! Don't know what we should do but Grayson's head in the sand idiocy is not it!

BlueMTexpat

(15,392 posts)
20. Thanks, Mr Grayson!
Tue Sep 3, 2013, 12:40 PM
Sep 2013

I have written to my Senators (Cardin & Mikulski) and to my Rep (Elijah Cummings) with similar messages.

I have also stressed my lifelong Dem credentials and that I am a supporter of this President. But I do NOT support military intervention of any kind in Syria. Not. At. All.

If the UN inspectors' report concludes that the Assad regime was responsible for the CW attack, then international arrest warrants should be issued and the matter should be dealt with in its proper venue, the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Using military intervention of any kind (including furnishing arms to the rebels which will keep the conflict ongoing) will kill people.

Killing more people to "show" people who kill people that killing is wrong is as silly as it is insane.


Latest Discussions»Retired Forums»2016 Postmortem»Grayson on Syria: "This L...