Washington is abuzz with the sounds of war. The President is prepared to "go it alone" with a pending air strike against Syria while Congress is holding a series of hearings on whether he has the authority to do so. These are the times that try men's souls.
Over the last year and a half, 100,000 people have lost their lives in the civil war in Syria. Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry said, "This is not the time to be spectators to slaughter.
Neither our country nor our conscience can afford the cost of silence." If that is true, why did we wait while thousands lost their lives BEFORE the use of chemical weapons? more >>
Our allies among the Syrian rebels have issued a memorandum to the State Department on strategies for the day after Assad falls. David Ignatius reports in his column today that the Free Syrian Army (SFA) has outlined a "Damascus plan" for "handling the power vacuum in case of a sudden Assad collapse." This plan is grossly flawed.
Not the least problem, as Ignatius points out, is that the plan relies on the United States - presumably using American troops - to take out not just Assad's stockpiles of chemical weapons but also the command and control for them. President Obama and his chief congressional supporters have ruled out American boots on the ground in Syria. Right? (See Andrew McCarthy's important observation regarding this pledge.)
Another crucial point in the rebels' strategic memorandum involves revenge killings. This is a major concern, as the Syrian conflict is at its core a civil war within Islam. The regime identifies with the minority Alawite sect that is allied with Hezbollah militias supported by Shiite theocratic Iran, while the rebels, largely Sunnis, are bolstered by al-Qaeda terrorists and other Sunni jihadist fighters and supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other Sunni regimes. Christians, who account for 10 percent (or more, when Iraqi refugees are counted) of the population and who have not taken up arms in this conflict are viewed by the two sides as aligned with the regime. They are the most vulnerable, since they have no militias or army to protect them. more >>
President Obama bowed-up last year and said he had a "red line" he would not allow Syria to cross. As a result, and with his massive ego at stake, he feels he has to do something he never does: back up his rhetoric with action.
The Obama regime only knows one way to wage war, and that is to run attack ads in Iowa destroying an opponent's character. Trying to wage war by invading a country over WMDs has pitted President Obama against his fiercest ideological opponent on the matter - candidate Obama.
So our war-waging-invading machine has been dispatched to the Middle East to extract a pound of flesh from Syrian president Assad for probably gassing opposition. No penalties yet on this administration sending the IRS to attack Obama's opposition. more >>
President Obama has asked Congress to authorize the use of American military force in Syria against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Recent American history in the region demands that the United States exercise tremendous prudence and discretion in how it handles the war in Syria.
Syria is embroiled in a bitterly violent civil war that has claimed the lives of as many as 110,000 in a country of slightly more than 22 million. The conflict began in the spring of 2011 when revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt successfully challenged their respective nations' dictatorships. Largely peaceful protests against Assad's authoritarian rule quickly turned to armed conflict after the regime's violent response.
The conflict is further complicated by the fact that Syria is led by a minority Shia Islamic sect known as the Alawites while most of the citizens are Sunni Muslims. While the rebellion may have been initially fueled by an anti-Assad sentiment, sectarian division seems to have intensified the violence. The more-secular Alawite-led regime has cast the rebels as religious extremists committed to imposing Sharia law and attacking other religions. Assad has galvanized the Alawite base by spreading propaganda that an Assad defeat means the extermination of Alawites throughout Syria. more >>
Former U.S. Army private Bradley Manning is seeking a presidential pardon for his 35-year-prison term after being convicted of espionage and other charges when he leaked classified U.S. documents to the WikiLeaks website in 2010. Manning states in the petition, released Wednesday, that he leaked the documents "out of a love for my country and sense of duty to others," as he questioned the morality of U.S. occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, sent the pardon request Tuesday to the U.S. Justice Department and the Department of the Army, arguing that the documents leaked by Manning in 2010 were not all considered to be classified or top secret. Although during the trial, prosecutors against Manning argued that his leaking of classified documents endangered the U.S., Manning's lawyer wrote in the pardon request that none of the leaked documents caused any "real damage to the United States."
Manning, 25, added in the petition that he decided to leak 700,000 U.S. security documents to the website WikiLeaks because he felt that the U.S. had "consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan." more >>
Not only are the churches, monasteries, and institutions of Egypt's Christians under attack by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters-nearly 100 now have been torched, destroyed, ransacked, etc.-but Christians themselves are under attack all throughout Egypt, with practically zero coverage in Western media.
Days ago, for example, Copts held a funeral for Wahid Jacob, a young Christian deacon who used to serve in St. John the Baptist Church, part of the Qusiya diocese in Asyut, Egypt. He was kidnapped on August 21 by "unknown persons" who demanded an exorbitant ransom from his impoverished family-1,200,000 Egyptian pounds (equivalent to $171,000 USD). Because his family could not raise the sum, he was executed-his body dumped in a field where it was later found. The priest who conducted his funeral service said that the youth's body bore signs of severe torture.
In fact, kidnapping young Christians and holding them for ransom has become increasingly common in Egypt. Last April, 10-year-old Sameh George, another deacon, or altar boy, at St. Abdul Masih ("Servant of Christ") Church in Minya, Egypt, was also abducted by "unknown persons" while on his way to church to participate in Holy Pascha prayers leading up to Orthodox Easter. His parents said that it was his custom to go to church and worship in the evening, but when he failed to return, and they began to panic, they received an anonymous phone call from the kidnappers, informing them that they had the Christian child in their possession, and would execute him unless they received 250,000 Egyptian pounds in ransom money. more >>