The military vs. Obama?
The military overwhelmingly does not want a war in Syria, wrote retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales in The Washington Post, citing discussions with military servicemen and the disinterested body language of Gen. Martin Dempsey during last week's Senate hearings.
"They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration's attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense ... This path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective," Gen. Scalles writes.
Not so fast, tweets Andrew Exum, a former Army officer in Afghanistan and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security: "Folks, beware any retired officer who claims to be able to speak for the political preferences of unnamed legions of military officers."
Save Syria; defund Obamacare
From satirist Andy Borowitz: "As the debate over Syria moves to the United States Congress, a leading Senate Republican said today that the only way to resolve the crisis in the war-torn Middle Eastern country is by 'defunding Obamacare at once.' Appearing on the Fox News channel, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told host Sean Hannity, 'If we're trying to send a strong message to [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad, I can think of no better way to do that than by defunding Obamacare.' ... 'By defunding Obamacare, we would basically be saying to Assad, "This is how we attack our own president, so just imagine what we'll do to you." That would make him think twice before he pulls another one of his stunts.' "
What if Congress says no?
Military analyst Tom Ricks at ForeignPolicy.com: "I expect that even if Congress declines to authorize the use of military force in Syria, President Obama will order a variety of covert actions in support of the rebels. How can we know if these are occurring? ... We should look for things happening that the rebels would have liked to do a long time ago but were unable to carry out. For example, assassinations of senior Syrian officials. I could see, for example, stealthy drone attacks on the convoys of the officials who oversaw the use of chemical weapons -- but credit being given to Syrian rebels. I also think we could see things like signals intercepts being passed to the rebels ...
"I've been told that, during the Iran-Iraq War, the U.S. provided Saddam Hussein's air force with good photo imagery of Iranian military targets, such as major supply depots and corps-level headquarters, and that the subsequent Iraqi airstrikes broke an Iranian offensive and so changed the balance of the war. Yet even as I discuss this, I wonder: If the rebels win, how will they treat Armenians, Jews, Christians and other minorities?"
Straws standing guard
From Natasha Turner at Ms.com: "Each year it is estimated that across the nation, one out of every six women has been the victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Millions of those ... assaults are facilitated by drink spiking -- and 80 percent of the victims are women. The company DrinkSavvy is trying to change these statistics. By developing cups, glasses and straws that change color at the detection of invisible drugs, it hopes to make bars and clubs a safe space for all."
Brendan O'Neill in Britain's Telegraph: "When did atheists become so teeth-gratingly annoying? Surely non-believers in God weren't always the colossal pains in the collective backside that they are today? Surely there was a time when you could say to someone 'I am an atheist' without them instantly assuming you were a smug, self-righteous loather of dumb hicks given to making pseudo-clever statements like, 'Well, Leviticus also frowns upon having unkempt hair, did you know that?'
"Things are now so bad that I tend to keep my atheism to myself ... for fear that uttering the A-word will make people think I'm a [Richard] Dawkins drone with a mammoth superiority complex and a hives-like allergy to nurses wearing crucifixes.
"[Recently] we had the spectacle of Dawkins and his slavish Twitter followers ... boring in on about how stupid Muslims are. [Then we were] treated to new scientific research claiming to show that atheists are cleverer than religious people.
"I say scientific. I say research. It is of course neither; it's just a pre-existing belief dolled up in rags snatched from various reports and stories. Not unlike the Bible. But that hasn't stopped the atheistic blogosphere and Twitterati from effectively saying, 'See? Told you we were brainier than you Bible-reading numbskulls.' "opinion_commentary
Greg Victor (firstname.lastname@example.org).