Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

US looks to Syria

There is an opinion published in today's Washington Post by Richard Cohen arguing on similarities between the unfolding Syrian situation (sign-up may be required) and the run-up to the Bosnian conflict.
We are coming up on a melancholy anniversary. On April 5, 1992, Suada
Dilberovic and Olga Sucic were shot and killed. They were attending a
peace rally in Sarajevo when Serbian snipers opened fire. The two
women were the first of more than 100,000 people killed over the next
few years. The Bosnian war had begun.

This is also an instructive anniversary. Much of what characterized
the Bosnian war, including hideous barbarity, is now occurring in
Syria. Once again, we are seeing sectarian butchery. Once again, we
are confronted with a travelogue of peoples, religions, sects, tribes
and clans. Once again, we are being warned of the daunting challenges
of topography — the Syrian desert, the Syrian mountains, the Syrian
cities. Once again we are being told that arming the opposition would
exacerbate the killing.
It already appears that arming the opposition has exacerbated the killing, as was the case in Libya. America is psyching itself up for another intervention. Cohen's conclusion:
It is a mess. But it is always a mess. It is up to the United States
to help establish a leadership. There is an art to these things, and
the State Department knows how to do it. There is also an inevitable
progression to such wars, and Bosnia shows the way. The Syrian war
will worsen. Many more people will be killed and, finally, the United
States will have to show Turkey and Saudi Arabia how these things are
Why exactly is it up to the United States to help establish leadership? Why is anything up the United States?

As happened in Libya, and Bosnia, and countries going back to Viet Nam, Korea, and France--in the western way of warfare, mass civilian deaths are not a bug, they are a feature. They are a feature of a form of war-fighting that is based on air power and minimizing the risk to boots on the ground. The newest feature of western war-fighting appears to be an increasing role for local proxies to do the heavy lifting, while the west drops bombs on "targets".

Update: US has already been intervening in Syria for some time.

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