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Bracing for War?

Syria nerve gas

The August 21st attack in the Ghouta region of Damascus killed hundreds (Reuters)

On Saturday, in a national address from the White House Rose Garden, President Obama said he would seek Congressional approval for an attack on Syria, who last week seemed to unleash chemical weapons upon its own people in a Damascus suburb.

I use the word seemed because I believe some evidence is still under review, but it’s pretty clear that Saran gas was used. U.S. intelligence analysts observed Syrian chemical weapons personnel making “preparations” in the area up to three days prior to the deadly attack. And just before the attack took place, allies of the Syrian regime were told to take precautions which included wearing gas masks.

Strange that this attack couldn’t have been prevented, but it’s possible the intelligence had to be confirmed or something first. Who knows?

At any rate, the gas killed more than 1,400 people—at least 400 of whom were children—and the U.S. simply cannot ignore this heinous act. With or without the backing of the United Nations, but with the support of a Congressional vote to attack, it is possible U.S. military forces could be heading to Syria soon. We’ll just have to wait and see, but President Obama certainly seems ready:

It’s important for us to recognize that, when over 1,000 people are killed, including hundreds of innocent children, through the use of a weapon that 98 or 99% of humanity says should not be used even in war, and there is no action, then we’re sending a signal that that international norm doesn’t mean much. And that is a danger to our national security.

At the moment, America has strong support from France, Turkey and the Arab League. But Russian President Vladimir Putin called the assertion that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons “utter nonsense” recently. And Russia has vowed to block any U.N. measure that includes military action against its ally Syria, so the U.S. will find no support there.

President Obama seeks Congress’ approval, but is ready to strike (Reuters)

Many also fear this may turn into a repeat of the whole “weapons of mass destruction” fiasco in Iraq a decade ago—where the U.S. invaded despite having hard evidence and subsequently found no WOMD to speak of. Secretary of State John Kerry is obviously aware of this perception, but has assured the American people the information has been “reviewed and re-reviewed” by the intelligence community.

“We are more than mindful of the Iraq experience,” Kerry told reporters recently. “And we will not repeat that moment.”

I hope not, because it was pretty embarrassing, at least from an international perspective.

Whether we launch an attack on the Syrian regime or not, what I hope most is that they were not behind this horrible massacre and did not release Saran gas on their own people. But if they did—and if no one else is willing to step up and teach them a lesson—I guess this responsibility will once again fall to my homeland, the United States.

Do I believe we should have to police the world? Absolutely not. We have tons of problems back home that need attention, problems we could address if the resources we used around the world were suddenly used here instead. However, when some foreign government turns against its own people and innocents die by the hundreds—especially in a manner deemed excessive, immoral or just plain wrong under international law—something must be done. We have the means, we have the might and we have the motivation.

Now all we need is hard evidence, and even that seems to be forthcoming.

Look out, Syrian regime—and look to the skies, opposition forces—because America could be coming your way soon. And someone is going to pay for gassing all those innocent children, believe me.

Julian Assange criticizes Obama over free speech

Assange embassy plan

Assange embassy plan (Photo credit: Bedeh)

Julian Assange lashes out at Obamas UN free speech comments +video – CSMonitor.com.

Founder of WikiLeaks and fugitive from justice, Julian Assange, recently criticized American President Barack Obama for comments he made to the United Nations about free speech.

Assange is upset because Obama spoke about free speech in the Arab world, at least in the context of the violence that erupted after the controversial film “The Innocence of Muslims” appeared on YouTube. In his view, Obama has “done more to criminalize free speech than any other U.S. president.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Obama defended the right to free speech while also condemning “The Innocence of Muslims,” which he made clear did not represent the opinions of all Americans or even our government. In fact, I believe he’s referred to this film as “repugnant” on more than one occasion.

I’m no expert on the Assange situation, either, but I’m fairly certain he was persecuted not for sharing information freely, but for releasing classified information that could be threatening to America’s national security. If this was indeed the case, then I can completely understand Obama’s problem with Assange. Free speech is important, but so is the safety of our country’s citizens.

Of course, Assange also has the rape charge in Sweden to consider. Taking focus off of that isn’t a bad tactic, and I’m sure that’s what Assange is trying to do.

All of this strikes me as kind of funny since right now, Assange is trapped in the Ecuadorian Embassy in England. If he so much as steps out for a breath of fresh air, British authorities will immediately arrest him and ship him to Sweden to face the music.

If I were Assange, then I would probably try to shift some attention to Obama, too. And who knows? Maybe he can distract enough people and finally mount some kind of escape from his self-inflicted captivity.

At least then he would get a break from all that Ecuadorian food, which must be getting old by now!

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