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Eshoo and Lofgren seek more answers before Syria vote

Original post made on Sep 3, 2013

With the U.S. Congress preparing to debate a potential military strike at Syria, Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, have co-authored a letter laying out the major questions that they say must be answered before they make a decision.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 9:55 AM

Comments (33)

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Posted by Syria-In-Obama's-Sights
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2013 at 10:27 am

This whole situation stinks! While Obama and [portion removed]John Kerry seem to be ready to attack the al-Assad government, the question as to who perpetrated the alleged chemical attack on some Damascas neighborhoods leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

Analysts outside the sphere of influence of the White House are asking some serious questions--

Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack?
Web Link

U.S. plans for possibility that Assad could lose control of chemical arms cache:
Web Link

As Bashar al-Assad's hold on power steadily weakens, U.S. officials are increasingly worried that Syria's weapons of mass destruction could fall into the hands of Islamist extremists, rogue generals or other uncontrollable factions.

But the developments have fanned fears that even if Assad does not attack his own people with chemical weapons, he is on the verge of losing control of his formidable arsenal.
---

AP Reporter: Syrian Rebels behind Chemical attack:
Web Link

So far, there hasn't been much reported as to what al-Assad would have hoped to have gained from this sort of very limited use of chemical weapons. The US seems to be ready to attack al-Assad, so why would he do this? What could he possibly gain from this action?


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Posted by sandy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2013 at 10:36 am

To Anna, Zoe, Dianne and Barbara--
PLEASE keep the US out of another mess in the middle east!!!


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Posted by Gene
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2013 at 10:52 am

Nobody on the international scene fears Obama, despite isolated uses of special forces and drones, so his red lines are ignored. GWB did not need to draw red lines, because he WAS feared. Obama went on a love fest with the Arab world, including Assad. Now he is paying the price. Ever notice how fast his hair is graying?


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Posted by 35 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2013 at 10:56 am

Interesting how these two won't take a position when they know that most of their constituents don't want us involved in another war. My guess is that they will be sheep and follow along wherever Obama wants to take them. Same goes for Jackie Speier.


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Posted by NO on Syria involvement!
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 3, 2013 at 11:08 am

I agree that dithering politicians are waiting to see which way the wind blows and what pressure their political party leaders exert on them.
Somehow, it boils down to Obama and his political blustering.
It seems like a questionable situation, with little to benefit anyone except sellers of military hardware.
Did you notice the little mention of the horrendous cost to taxpayers for shooting a "limited" number of cruise missiles at Syria (with what particular result?!) I heard estimates of $300-500M for a "limited" strike. The price can only go up from there.
The backlash against U.S. and U.S. citizens is worrisome and another high cost...killing innocent civilians can also be used in anti U.S. propaganda by any of the interest groups there, whether Assad/government or the various questionable ill-identified "rebel" groups.
I say, stay out UNLESS there is full backing from the U.N.
Bravo to British Parliament for staying out of this questionable mess.


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Posted by Let's bash obama
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 3, 2013 at 11:12 am

We can see where this is going--down the path of obama-bashing.

" Hanoi-John Kerry"
John Kerry is a decorated military veteran and you are??????

"GWB did not need to draw red lines, because he WAS feared. "
You mean the world was afraid GWB would start a nuclear war, correct???


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Posted by Gene
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2013 at 11:32 am

GWB was comfortable in his own skin, and he was willing to use effective military force to achieve his goals, like the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein. GWB slept well at night, but I doubt that Obama does, because he is unsure about action, and his nervousness can be read by every international leader. To use a rough analogy, Obama is Chamberlain and Bush is Churchill.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2013 at 11:33 am

Write Anna Eshoo and tell her how you feel
Web Link


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Posted by Let's bash obama
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 3, 2013 at 11:57 am

See. What did i tell you?

"like the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan"
GWB defeated the Taliban in Afghanistan? That must be news to the families of these victims:
Web Link

"GWB slept well at night"
I am sure GWB slept like a baby after Cheney tucked him in.

"because he is unsure about action"
He got Osama Bin Laden. Pretty nice piece of action.

"his nervousness can be read by every international leader."
You equate consulting with congress as nervousness. I guess maybe he should lie like GWB and his people did

"Obama is Chamberlain and Bush is Churchill."
Obama is FDR. GWB is hoover


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Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm

My take on this.

It looks like the Syrian government (or maybe some Syrian military leader in pay of Iran, maybe mix Syria-Iran together) was using chemical weapons sparsely at first, incrementally, then going more "full bore".

It's as if "they" are purposely going over the red line just enough to invite an attack. As if that is the real intent of the chemical weaponry use. Because if the goal was purely military then the initial incidents would have been major as well. And the latest incident with over 1,400 dead, seems designed to guarantee an attack.

Now why would Syria (or Iran-Syria, or maybe Iran solo) want to have the USA attack Syria?

We may be destined to attach Syria, but we should do so eyes wide open.

Also the only military deterrent would entail a strike sufficient to at least put the Syrian government more at risk of collapsing in face of the opposition.

Yet if the opposition wins then the problems might just be starting.

And who in some state of some mind would compare Bush to Churchill? At least Churchill could still handle his liquor!


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Posted by member
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 3, 2013 at 12:51 pm

The problem I see here is that Obama proceeded while Congress was out - he unilaterally and purposely committed us, with Kerry egging him on.

These people have been fighting each other for hundreds / thousand of years. The WMDs are probably the same ones that started the Iraq war - they move stuff around. We have spent way too much money on a group of people that do not care about us - they hate us. We need to start taking care of our own people who have been displaced by weather and other infrastructure problems. Our plate is full at home.
Please Congress - do not get us involved - there is no good end to this.


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm

We should be selling arms to both sides, then remotely detonate those arms when one side wins.

The longer they fight each other, the less time they have to fight Western Civilization.


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Posted by reality
a resident of Walter Hays School
on Sep 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm

We have to light off a couple hundred cruise missiles every half dozen years to keep the industrial part of the military/congressional/industrial complex happy. They hate it when the missiles sit in inventory and we don't order new ones.

Notice the Obama bashers don't offer a plan? There is no win here for America, once you look at all the potential for blowback (Russia, Isreal, Egypt, Iran, etc..)

The Bush worshipers would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic: a country that never attacked us and we get 5,000 American soldiers killed, spend trillions, and it's still a disaster over there.

Iraq - Worst foreign policy decision since Vietnam.


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Posted by Gene
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm

>The Bush worshipers would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic: a country that never attacked us

Saddam attacked our planes, which were enforcing the no-fly zone in Iraq, following his defeat in the first Gulf War (Kuwait); he also attempted to assassinate our former president (GHWB). Saddam was a very bad dude, and GWB took him out. Obama would never have done it, because he fears his own shadow.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Politics aside, what if we'd really torn a new one on Saddam instead of Bush's feeble antics back in the day? Would Saddam have gone on to do the damage he did? Not likely.

Assad is a terrifyingly bad person. He's a bit "Hitlery", don't you think?

We're damned if we do, damned if we don't.

And politically, if a Repub was in power, wouldn't they be pushing for action? [Portion removed].


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Posted by Let's bash obama
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 3, 2013 at 2:21 pm

"he also attempted to assassinate our former president (GHWB)."
Another myth the bush worshipers love to push:
Web Link

"Saddam was a very bad dude, and GWB took him out."
But he was on of Bushs' buddies:
"Web Link
Web Link

Anyway, Obama does not bother with the trash--he got the important one--Osama Bin Laden (remember 9/11 Gene???)

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I have plenty of criticism for our current POTUS, but a fearful man he is not. At least, he's not fearful of foreign enemies in the manner that Gene tries to pretend that he is. Pres. Obama would likely take Saddam out w/out a problem - it's easy when one doesn't have ties to an enemy as the Bush family did w/Saddam & OBL.


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Posted by Gene
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2013 at 2:35 pm

> Pres. Obama would likely take Saddam out w/out a problem

I don't think so, because it would have required boots on the ground.


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Posted by Let's bash obama
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 3, 2013 at 2:46 pm

"I don't think so, because it would have required boots on the ground."
Your whole premise, gene, is not based on any solid facts--just on your dislike of obama because he is democrat/black/not Mitt.
Do not forget that Bush got his "boots on the ground" under false pretenses. And do not forget that Hussein was a good buddy of the Bush family.
You all seem eager to send more of our soldiers to die. Care to explain why???
Do you support the rebels in Syria, Gene? The ones affiliated with Al Qeida???? That is odd considering how you are trumpeting the removal of the taliban ( a false claim) and Hussein after 9/11. Remember who pulled off 9/11, Gene??
Oh and wait, it was Obama who got him--with boots on the ground, as you like to say.
Republicans have a history of chickening out--Reagen after the Beirut barracks attack, Bush during the first Gulf War (or did he not go after hussein because they were buddies?), Bush Jr giving up on getting Bin Laden.


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Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Hey and Harry Barnes kicked John Galt's butt! It was right there in the comic strip for Krize Sakes.

Seriously are why is there a discussion akin to "Superman could beat Batman" argument among juveniles who are still immature even considering?


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Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm

But you gotta love the irony.

The Chicken Hawks used the attack by a truly terrorist organization in order to launch an attack against an established state, Iraq. The lying, cynical, even treasonous nature of how that was carried out is history.

Now an established state incrementally and progressively goads us into attacking, by going over an established "red line".

I guess we didn't throw all the Baath Water out with the Saddam baby?


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Posted by Noel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 3, 2013 at 3:16 pm

The last chemical attack in Syria was first attributed to Assad, then inspectors decided it was more likely done by the rebels. At least one article has come out recently alleging this "attack" was the result of rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided by Saudi Prince Bandar.

Not only is there no proof as to who did this, but more importantly there is no reasonable expectation that anything we do militarily will save lives or improve the situation.

The bottom line is that the only good guys in this conflict are the millions of innocent civilians caught in the middle. If Assad is over thrown, indications are that his replacement will be worse, not better. The US should focus on demilitarizing the conflict by cutting the flow of weapons to all sides in the conflict and pushing for negotiations rather than being drawn or manipulated into joining the fighting.

If anyone is concerned about the "humanitarian" argument for bombing and does not see that as an oxymoron, please be aware that one million children die of malaria in Africa every year. Those lives could be saved for the price of less than 100 cruise missiles. And that is only one of many ways our money and attention could be better used to make the world a safer and healthier place.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm

[Post removed]


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Posted by Donald Ruhmmmmmy
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm

"Saddam attacked our planes, which were enforcing the no-fly zone in Iraq"

List the ones Sadam shot down.

Okay, you can't, because he never shot one down.

List the ones he hit.

I'll wait.

Every time they fired at us, we blew the air defense units to pieces.

Saddam had no military to speak of left by the time we invaded Iraq, a country that had not attacked us during the Bush presidency. Sadam was all bluster and bravado to try and keep face in the Arab world, who detested him.

Saddam had few friends - - - - - why, what do you know, here's a pic of one of Saddams best buddies: Web Link

Saddam's bestest buddy? Ronald W Raygun, at the same time Ronnie Raygun was ILLEGALLY selling arms to Iran. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Crescent Park Dad is a registered user.

Everyone knows that the attack on US and French barracks in Lebannon was a response to the perceived level of support that the US provided Israel for their intrusion into Lebannon (to supposedly create a buffer zone between PLO & Syrian forces). And for the fact that the US provided Naval gunnery support for an assault in the Bekaa Valley - which killed several civilians.

To say Reagan "got the Marines murdered" is just an emotional blow off without giving any thought or even a hint at reflecting the facts.

The numbers: the death toll was 241 American servicemen: 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers, along with 60 Americans injured.

Further, the military analyzed all of the tactical/operational issues after the attack. Their conclusions were that the senior military officials did not prepare base security as well as they should have (weapons, readiness, staffing). Further, the eventual design concepts of vehicle barriers and s-curve entries came about from this unfortunate event (no such cautionary measures were taken by any US military or government installation).

There were also some lapses in intelligence gathering and communication as it was later found that there were advance communications extolling an attack on the Marines.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] No boots on the ground now, Gene. The thing is, the POTUS isn't scared of foreign enemies. He may be scared of angering the banking industry fer realz, but he's no scaredy cat of OBL/Saddam types. [Portion removed.]

How come no one else wants to put Assad in his place by punishing him for what he's done? Don't they think he's acting somewhat "Hitlery"?


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Posted by wmartin46
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 4, 2013 at 7:50 am

wmartin46 is a registered user.

I must admit to not having paid a lot of interest to the situation in Syria until recently. I was able to easily find a BBC documentary on the country, and the on-going conflict--

BBC/Syria (60 mins):
Web Link

I encourage folks to watch this bit of reporting on the history of Syria, and the "revolution".


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Posted by LaFollette\'s spawn
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 4, 2013 at 12:15 pm

LaFollette\'s spawn is a registered user.

I'm a bit surprised that everyone so far has chosen to turn a blind eye on Syria's flagrant disregard of international law, the real justification for the US, as the leading world power, to become involved directly. Ignoring such a horrific violation of international standards is to invite it's use again and again until it becomes accepted as normal and international law becomes even further weakened, along with the reputation of the US as the defender of laws and the downtrodden.
No other country has used poison gas since Iraq used it multiple times against Iran in their 1980's war and again in 1991 against it's own people. It's arguable that if Reagan or GHW Bush had responded to Hussein as Obama has proposed to do with Assad, we wouldn't have needed to invade Iraq in the futile search for WMD.


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Posted by wmartin46
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 4, 2013 at 1:17 pm

wmartin46 is a registered user.

> I'm a bit surprised that everyone so far has chosen to turn
> a blind eye on Syria's flagrant disregard of international law

Could you help us all out a bit, and cite the International Law you are talking about?

Thanks.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Wayne: 1925 Geneva Protocol Prohibited the "use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices" and "bacteriological methods".


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Posted by wmartin46
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm

wmartin46 is a registered user.

> 1925 Geneva Protocol Prohibited the "use in war of
> asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all
> analogous liquids, materials or devices" and
> "bacteriological methods".

1) International law only binds those countries that are signatory to the pact. Is Syria a signatory to this, or any other binding pact, on the use of poison gas?

2) What proof is that that Syria (the government of Syria) actually used poison gas?

3) "Rebels" routinely don't sign Geneva-style conventions. So, if these "rebels", or any others, were to use poison gas, what obligations would the US claim to hold them accountable?


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Posted by wmartin46
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 4, 2013 at 1:36 pm

wmartin46 is a registered user.

Geneva Protocols:
Web Link

Ok .. according to Wikipedia, Syria did sign on to the Geneval Protocols in 1968.


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Posted by wmartin46
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 4, 2013 at 1:49 pm

wmartin46 is a registered user.

This 6 minute clip reports on the use of Sarin gas by the so-called "rebels", trying to overthrow the Syrian government--

Toxic Warfare: Rebels caught with sarin gas:
Web Link

According to this video report, the UN had identified Sarin in the hands of some "rebel" fighters--but that report was repudiated by the White House.


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