Hafez Assad, Bashar's father, was a brutal dictator who crushed all resistance against his regime. He killed 10,000 in Homs in 1982 alone.
Bashar's brother was being groomed for his father's slot as head dictator and "president" for life, but he was killed in a car accident. Bashar was called home from the Western Eye Hospital in London where he was working as an eye doctor.
He went through the Military Academy in 5 years, attaining the rank of colonel. Upon his father's death in 1980 the Parliament in Syria lowered the age of majority for president to 34 in Syria, which just happened to be Basha's age.
Bashar really wanted to reform Syria and clean out corruption but cronyism among his father and brother's old friends made that impossible.
Boy, karma is a bitch!
It's good to have you back, Anna. I taught two short term classes this summer, so I didn't have much time for posting, and with you traveling, there wasn't even very much to read around here.
I sincerely hope you're right Mike. He is backed into a corner and has already proved intent.
> "The Middle East is a powder keg and the fire is coming... nobody knows what will happen..."
It's coming up on 1000 years since the Catholic Church first launched the Crusades in the year 1095. The Middle East has always been a powder keg, the fire is always coming, and nobody ever knows what will happen. It's a holy war and it's probably going to continue until Jesus and Mohammad come back to duke it out for once and for all. In the meantime, things will pretty much remain same as they ever were.
After meeting with the President at the White House today, McCain and Grahm acted like men who had to sell their constituents a crappy bill of goods. Selling war is their specialty. The war economy floats their boat. Eternal war without end.
Their pretension that Obama's actions are inadequate or wrong is odious. Put them all on record and let the American government act with one voice.
Notice I said government, not people. We are a Republic and I for one don't want another bomb dropped in my name, which I will have to answer for at the time of my death, on anybody.*
"The Middle East is a powder keg and the fire is coming... nobody knows what will happen..." Bashar el-Assad in an interview today in the French major daily La Figaro
*This expresses my conviction that if you pay for the bombs with your taxes you bear some responsibility, to a lesser or greater degree.
The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, set up by the War Department in 1944 to study the results of aerial attacks in the war, interviewed hundreds of Japanese civilian and military leaders after Japan surrendered, and reported just after the war:
"Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony
of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that
certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November,
1945 Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped,
even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or
***** You could stop here but read on for the real pertinent facts: *****
But could American leaders have known this in August of 1945? The answer is, clearly, yes. The Japanese code had been broken, and Japan's messages were being intercepted. It was known that the Japanese had instructed their ambassador in Moscow to work on peace negotiations with the Allies. Japanese leaders had begun talking of surrender a year before this, and the Emperor himself had begun to suggest, in June 1945, that alternatives to fighting to the end be considered. On July 13th, Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo wired his ambassador in Moscow. "Unconditional surrender is the only obstacle to peace..." Martin Sherwin, after an exhaustive study of the relevant historical documents concludes "Having broken the Japanese code before the war, American Intelligence was able to, and did, relay this message to the president, but it had no effect whatever on efforts to bring the war to a conclusion."
If only the Americans had not insisted on unconditional surrender -- that is if they were willing to accept one condition to the surrender, that the Emperor, a holy figure to the Japanese, remain in place -- the Japanese would have agreed to stop the war.
Why did the United States not take that small step to save both American and Japanese lives? Was it because too much money and effort had been invested in the atomic bomb not to drop it? General Leslie Groves, head of the Manhattan Project, described Truman as a man on a toboggan, the momentum to great to stop it.
******* ******* ********
My editorial: We've been fed a line of crap for decades about the saving of millions of lives, mostly American, in the invasion of the Japanese home islands. My father, a WWII Pacific Theater veteran, repeatedly made this argument to me in a defensive way. We knew. They knew. It was about scientific study of the types of atom bombs dropped, even with intelligence that American prisoners of war were turned into shadows in Hiroshima (which WAS NOT a military target) and Nagasaki.
There were also other factors more in the nature of conjecture.
Do you have any supporting documentation for your statements on Japan? I could not find any. Thanks.
I think the local burghers in my town would let go with the mustard gas found in the old pre WWI horse stables if they couldn't taze anybody they wanted with impunity... Like employees who didn't show up for work on time because they had to drop their kid at daycare. Well, maybe I'm being a bit harsh.
But consider this from the NY Times:
"In 2006, former Iraqi general, Georges Sada, who served under Saddam Hussein before he defected, wrote a comprehensive book detailing how the Iraqi Revolutionary Guard moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria, before the US-led action to eliminate Saddam Hussein’s WMD threat, by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.
As reported in the New York Sun on January 26, 2006:
“‘There are weapons of mass destruction gone out from Iraq to Syria, and they must be found and returned to safe hands,’ Mr. Sada said. ‘I am confident they were taken over.’”
“Mr. Sada’s comments come just more than a month after Israel’s top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam ‘transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria.’
SO, I don't believe the US gave El-Assad 1 or 2 (father Hafez or son Bashar) his weapons -- I think it is evident he got them from Hussein, but we won't know till we see the shell markings. El Assad is officially listed as President and secretary of the local Baath Party. Just another Jack-Muslim who makes a point of paying for his I-Tunes.
(This whole thing is getting rather bizarre)
wow, what a world, we give this guy everything he needs to kill everyone in the area and then we get pissed when he does, what did you expect? You know being king is a great gig, and most anyone would do whatever it takes to hang on to that job and don't think for one second that the same thing wouldn't happen in this country if the powers that be felt that their little gigs might end.
- It smells like WWIII...