Is Punitive Action against Syria Justified? Is It Legal?
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Would a so-called "limited" US attack to punish Syria for the alleged use of chemical weapons do more harm than good? We hear about a debate that's raging in Washington, among America's allies and in the Middle East. Also, do grass roots Republicans like Obamacare after all?
Banner image: UN chemical weapons experts wearing gas masks carry samples collected from an alleged chemical weapons attack while escorted by Free Syrian Army fighters in Damascus August 28, 2013. Photo: Mohamed Abdullah/Reuters
British Parliament Debates Military Strike on Syria ()
With no chance of support from the UN Security Council, President Obama wants allied support if he decides to punish Syria with military action. Today, British Prime Minister David Cameron made the case to Parliament, referring to videos of bodies with "symptoms consistent with nerve agent exposure, including muscle spasms and foaming at the mouth and nose…all inflicted by weapons that have been outlawed for a century." But some members of Cameron's own coalition government and the opposition, including Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, called for delay. Julian Borger is diplomatic editor for the Guardian and a former correspondent in the Middle East.
Is the White House Playing a Waiting Game? ()
US plans to punish Syria with military action may be on hold for the moment. President Obama says he has not made a decision, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress are demanding a consultation. Last night, on the PBS News Hour, the President discussed the possible consequences of the kind of action he's contemplating. Meanwhile, the British parliament is balking at providing support. Military experts and diplomats agree that a limited strike won't change the course of Syria's civil war, and could lead to retaliation. Many questions remain: what's the evidence of crimes against humanity? Is Syria a threat to the US? Will intervention lead to a wider war?
- Ryan Crocker: Texas A&M University
- Scott Rigell: US Congress, @RepScottRigell
- Mona Yacoubian: Stimson Center, @myacoubian
- Marwan Bishara: Al Jazeera English, @marwanbishara
Today's Talking Point
Do Republican Voters Secretly Love Obamacare? ()
In Congress, Republicans have voted to repeal Obamacare no less than 40 times. But what about Republican voters when they're asked about specific provisions? At town hall meetings in conservative districts during the current congressional recess, Obama care is Public Enemy Number One. But when asked about specific provisions of the Affordable Care Act, it's a different story. Daniel Gross, columnist and global business editor for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, has some recent findings that might surprise many, including a lot of grass roots conservatives, too.
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