Samantha Power Makes the Case for a U.S. Strike on Syria

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is redirecting her attention away from the UN and toward the American public

  • Share
  • Read Later
Charles Dharapak / AP

US United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power speaks about Syria, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at the Center for American Progress in Washington.

After failing to persuade every member of the UN Security Council to back punitive action against Syria‘s regime, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power turned her attention to a different crowd: the American people.

As President Barack Obama gears up to address a reluctant and war-weary nation Tuesday, Power set the primer with a Friday speech to a small crowd at the headquarters of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank.

Power said while she recognizes the ambivalence of citizens still reeling from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the risk of not acting against the Assad regime is greater than the risk of carrying out the limited strikes Obama has proposed.

With the the President’s plan, Power said, “We are reaffirming what the world has already made plain in laying down its collective judgment on chemical weapons.”

“There is something different about chemical warfare that raises the stakes for the United States and raises the stakes for the world,” she continued.

Power reiterated the sentiments of Secretary of State John Kerry and some members of Congress who have said other regimes will take a non-response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people, reportedly killing 1,400 Syrians including hundreds of children, as an invitation to acquire and use such weapons themselves.

“We cannot afford to signal to North Korea and Iran that the international community is unwilling to act to prevent proliferation or willing to tolerate the use of weapons of mass destruction,” Power said. “People will draw lessons if the world proves unwilling to enforce the norms against chemical weapons use that we have worked so diligently to construct.”

Much of the 20-minute speech was similar to the address Power gave at the UN on Thursday, where she said Russia—which she called “patron of a [Syrian]  regime that would brazenly stage the world’s largest chemical weapons attack in a quarter century”—was holding the Security Council hostage.

Power revisited her statements on Russia, adding that the country, often with the help of China, has blocked “every relevant action in the Security Council.” She added that the U.S. Would address Syria through the Security Council, the peacekeeping arm of the UN, if Russia would agree that the country’s use of chemical weapons is worthy of an intervention. The country has blocked two resolutions against the use of chemical weapons in Syria so far this year.

“In Assad’s cost-benefit calculus,” Power said, “he must have weighed the risk of using this hideous weapon against the recognition that he could get away with it because Russia would have Syria’s back in the Security Council.”

Power also addressed the question of U.S. diplomatic options, saying the U.S. has “exhausted” all methods besides military force. Power said in the past the U.S. has pursued humanitarian efforts and increased support to the Syrian opposition in an effort to block the use of chemical weapons, but now the time has come for military action.

“What would words in the form of belated diplomatic obligation achieve?” Power asked. “Does anybody really believe that deploying the same approaches we have tried for the last year will suddenly be effective?”

The Obama Administration does not, nor do leaders in 10 countries who joined with the U.S. on Friday in calling for a stronger international response to Syria. But the American people and members of Congress it seems, are still wary.

10 comments
CarmenSepulveda
CarmenSepulveda

This idiot is going to get us all killed.  We should deport her back to Ireland.

arvay
arvay

Here's everything we need to know about Power

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/07/16/how_michael_jacksons_rabbi_made_samantha_power_kosher_shmuley_boteach

So what's the REAL story here?

Could this be it?

http://www.thenation.com/blog/176040/obamas-syria-war-really-about-iran-and-israel#axzz2eFYXl9MD

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-04/adelson-new-obama-ally-as-jewish-groups-back-syria-strike.html

http://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-organizations-in-us-support-syria-strike/

Many American Jews are alarmed at what israel does, and how these groups arrogantly create the impression that they speak for "the Jews."

The question is -- do they want this war, if it happens -- to be labeled a "Jewish" war?

JohnRintala
JohnRintala

Only the UN Security Council  can authorize military action against a coutry.  An attack by the US on Syria is illegal and a crime against peace, the crime of aggressive war. This is an absolute fact. Even  threating aggressive war is a crime. That makes all who do, including Powers, Obama, and Kerry war criminals even before any missles are launched. That is the law; international law, which makes it superior to any US law.

The US has presented no evidence to the UN. It has sent no evidence to the two labs in the US which are certified to examine violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

 Russia presented a 100 page report to the UN which concludes that the al-Nustra terrorists were responsible for the gas attack in March. 

Turkish police busted al-Nustra with two kilograms of sarin in May: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-316966-report-police-foil-al-nusra-bomb-attack-planned-for-adana.html



JohnDavidDeatherage
JohnDavidDeatherage

Syria is not an American ally. The Syrian people don't like America. We are not the world's policeman. Let's sit this one out.

drsam800
drsam800

While compromised journalists are busy counting votes in Congress, they forget the fundament question of principle that has protected us all and made the world safer.

QUO VADIS LIBERALISM ON THE GASSING OF INNOCENT CHILDREN IN SYRIA?

On this important issue, liberalism has failed big time! It has retreated into the trite logic that one set of concern (concern about war) is a higher issue of morality than the gassing of 400 innocent children. More laughable is the elitist argument that some international norms deserve our immediate attention, and others can be ignored at will, especially when our national interest is not immediately threatened. It is like grading the laws of nature or the Ten Commandment.

In reality, it portends the lack of courage to do the right thing—just to protect our immediate interest. With such logic, you could have left Hitler alone to do as he pleased. He never attacked the United States. Yet, we know clearly we are dealing here with a monster that was bent to menace the world.

Principle is indivisible!

Any time we succumb to the wrong logic that only our own freedom and interests matter, we fail the test of universality and unity. Freedom and justice are universal values. They represent the sum of all values! That is why, invariably, even the most determined dictators go—swept away in the deluge of their people’s wrath.

As well, we fail the test of maturity and balance!

There is a related misconception that the majority is always right, and that the leader must be led inexorably by the voice of the people. Vox populi (voice of the people) is not the vox Dei (voice of God)! For as humans, we have fault lines and many deficiencies. Often we act opportunistically, in pure self-interest as opposed to selfless principles.

Thus, there was a time it seemed alright in some parts of the world, and to the majority in America that slavery was a damn good idea. At least in the South, they loved their slaves and resisted any attempt to end slavery in America. The road to freedom and equality in many areas of American life was long and hard. It took the cardinal massage of World War II (freedom, equality and justice), the women’s movement and the civil rights movement to usher in new rights for millions of Americans, especially Blacks and women.

As we seek freedom and liberation for ourselves, we cannot at the same time be attempting to corral others or to marginalize quests for freedom and liberation in distant lands. We will wish others their freedom too–freedom to do and to act. We will reject all inimical restraint and the justifications of the immoral man, and act with that level of spiritual wisdom that God allows us individually and as a nation at any given moment.

Liberals have a much greater burden and consummate obligation in this regard—for they have been very vociferous in championing, at least in the past, many (if not much) of the freedoms we now enjoy. To properly evaluate present day performance of liberals, we must hark back to the birth of liberalism which has a religious basis. However, the political liberalism of present-day Democrats (and most of their liberals) tend not to focus on “Christian love” and kindness per se, but rather moderately, on securing and protecting the rights of the middle class and the poor.

Therefore, the current emphasis is on policies that would result in a just society. Democrats and their liberals focus understandably then on individual freedom (even a little bit of license), human rights, human dignity, equality issues, self-development and self-expression. Through such an emphasis, journalists are able to protect their craft and writers write freely.

Yet many Democrats and liberals are subtly retreating from aspects of even these moderate goals (e.g., equality goals) purely for reasons of political and economic expediency. Thus, it is not surprising that on the Syrian issue, the liberal decibel seems largely muffled at best, and clearly contradictory in aspects of their logic.

A strong argument could be made that the cause of liberalism might be better served by plowing back indeed to its roots in Christian spirituality and benevolence. That would require that those who call themselves liberals stand up for its ideology of love, caring, human decency and universality. This approaches a cosmic sense in which we see ourselves as ONE WITH ALL HUMANITY. Selflessly then, we can sympathize and empathize with the lots of a suffering humanity!

That, indeed, is the true work of eternity! And it is a selfless vision, indeed! Here, we become truly our neighbor’s keeper. Here we are all one. Here we see everything as connected.

Finally, liberals must recognize that there is maturity in the balance of God’s justice. Thus, “there is a time for everything under the heaven,” the wise ones have said and written. There is “a time for peace”; there is “a time for war.”

When we resist and refuse the appeals of our basic goodness from the voice within (and focus only on our needs), we create an imbalance that ultimately gets resolved with possibly painful results, hence much suffering in the world, and in individual and collective lives.

LOVE is a Greater Law that speaks in each of our lives and in all of our lives!

The key, therefore, is learning to reach the required balance in our personal, political and social life. It is a law that applies within and between nations. We cannot ignore it without much greater risks to ourselves individually, to the nation and to the world.

We cannot ignore Syria—the gassed innocent children—and the need to act!

Dr. Sam

www.politicalspitfire.com

jmac
jmac

We invaded Iraq over WMD's.   Chemical weapons were included in that definition.   Chemical weapons that had not been used for fifteen years and clearly were not used when we took back Kuwait and were not found by weapon's inspectors, regardless of Colin Powell saying the opposite to push the war.   

If we stand back and say we will do nothing as we watch it in real time after we  used such a flimsy excuse to invade Iraq - we are defining yet again who we are as a nation.   Torture wasn't pretty.   This is horrendous after the lies that were used for the invasion of Iraq.  

"Just in case anyone reading missed it, Bush made a joke at a Correspondence Dinner about not finding WMD's.  He looked for them under a chair .  He thought it was funny).   His legacy will live on in a 'no' vote now.  

Donplus
Donplus

 Please, anyone knows whose idea it was for the UN to only mandate investigating if chemical weapons were used and not to find out the user, how they aquired them and the country of origin? cause we the USA are chiefly the manufacturers of this gas

I am just curious

MohammadShafiqKhan
MohammadShafiqKhan

Watch what America is doing with Muslims of the world. Leaked Documents: U.S. Framed Syria in Chemical Weapons Attack Watch what. 

http://www.ForbiddenKnowledgeTV.com/page/24370.html


Now see the rationality of America & United Nations.


The monk responsible for killing of Muslims in Myanmar is free and is openly campaigning for genocide of Muslims. Muslims have no police protection in Myanmar and Myanmar Government is just not answerable to international community according to America & United Nations. Read & see 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23846632 and 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23874521

But America is free to attack Syria against international laws as no self defense is involved or authorization of United Nations is needed.