The loser way to debate is to cede the main argument to the other side, which in the case of Syria is, “Who killed all those babies?” By doing just that, Giles Fraser of the Guardian and Bob Dreyfuss of The Nation become the worst ‘friends’ anti-bombing folks could have. (And the Obombers are far from ‘winning’ this debate: even after the chemical horror and the intense media push to bomb, only 9% of Americans want to intervene.) Fraser starts his argument:
But if the logic is simply that Assad is a 24-carat wrong-un, that his use of chemical weapons against his own people is a moral outrage, therefore we need to act – then we are doing little more than satisfying our own sense of retributive morality, and one that has become blurred with a large dollop of action-hero crap.
I responded in the Guardian comments like this:
Your ‘no attack’ argument accepts the premise that Assad is guilty, presupposing this before the UN inspection team is given a chance to look into the incident. How is that supposed to persuade anyone? We of course don’t know who was responsible for the horrific poison gas incident, but we do know who benefits, and we do know that earlier UN inspectors said that the evidence pointed to the rebels being perpetrators rather than the government.
Dreyfuss is an even blunter fail:
Here’s the core question now, in regard to Syria: If it’s true that President Bashar al-Assad’s government used poison gas in an incident that killed hundreds of people, at least, in the suburbs of Damascus, can the United States avoid military action in response?
No, that’s not the core question, it’s the core assumption that must be all-out attacked. Anyway, I wrote in the comments (borrowing a bit from my other comment):
So your ‘no war’ argument starts with accepting the premise that Assad is guilty? An ‘F’ in persuasive writing for you. And you presuppose — like the US and its fellow invaders — before the UN inspection team has been allowed to look into the incident. We of course don’t know who was responsible for the horrific poison gas incident, but we do know who benefits, and we do know that earlier UN inspectors said that the evidence pointed to the rebels being perpetrators rather than the government.
In sum, the only way to respond to this rush to bomb is to shout, “Wait, let the UN inspectors do their job!” “Why the rush?”
Well, we can make a very good guess as to why the bombers are rushing, because Obama’s advisers guess that the UN inspections will either be inconclusive or point at the rebels. Why the rush? We saw the same thing in Iraq: while Saddam was opening up the country to UN inspectors, the U.S. was threatening them with bombardment unless they left immediately.
Britain’s tell-it-like-it-is George Galloway offers the common sense way to argue against bombing and killing Syrians:
It is entirely implausible that the Syrian regime chose the moment of the arrival of a UN chemical weapons inspection team to launch a chemical attack on an insurgency already suffering reverse after reverse on the battlefield and steadily losing international support with each new video showing them eating the hearts of slain soldiery and sawing of the heads of Christian priests with bread knives.In the absence of conclusive evidence one would have to believe that the Assad regime was mad as well as bad to have launched such a chemical attack at a time when it is in less danger than it has been for almost a year. I do not believe that Bashar is mad.
The exceptional implausibility if not absurdity of Assad creating such an incident on the very day the UN inspectors arrived, even though he was doing great waging conventional warfare on the rebels… And yet we have ‘anti-intervention’ mainstream opinionists like Dreyfuss and Glaser conceding instead of defending that rock-solid first line of argument. The conspiracy-minded might ask whose side they’re really on. Me, I just think that they’re absorbed in the Western imperial media’s black and white portrayal of the complicated Syrian reality. And/or stupid.
Finally, and cringeworthily, Fraser wailed that nothing could be done:
For there is obviously no wider plan as to how the west might enable Syria to transition to a more stable and peaceful state. Perhaps no such plan is possible.
Besides sticking his jaw out for the obvious hysterical interventionist response (“But we have to do something!”), what a willfully ignorant statement. I answered:
There obviously could be such a plan, since the armed opposition would largely disappear without massive Western and Saudi support. That would make for a much more peaceful and stable Syria.
Denial of reality: a specialty of the mainstream media, sad rags of common-sense destroying, Western-imperialism-ignoring propaganda.