Archive for April, 2013

Syria and Sarin: Let the Punishment Fit the Crime

Friday, April 26th, 2013

I am watching MSNBC, and Chris Hayes suggested that after the break he would tell us what we should do next about Syria.  Okay, that might be interesting, but let me see if I can answer the question first.

It seems quite possible–though by no means certain–that Syria’s leader Assad has used Sarin gas. President Obama has warned of fearsome things we will do if Assad were to commit this crime…so now what?

I say: Let the punishment fit the crime. Or, maybe I should say: punish the crime.

The problem over these many months is that intervening in Syria is not a simple thing, or else we would have done it already. Libya wasn’t simple, but it sure was simple in comparison. Syria is a hard problem.

To re-ask one of Chris’ questions to his panel: Is there something we could do to make things better?

No. Not with any certainty. Most ideas would make matters worse.

Assad is doing nasty stuff, and, though there is plenty we could do, it isn’t clear that any of these things will make matters better.

So what in hell do we do about this red-line we talked up? If Assad has gone from being extremely nasty in nearly every way he can imagine, to being extremely nasty, plus using some Sarin, what do we do?

Arrgh. Just just because some red-line might have been crossed doesn’t change that Syria isn’t something we can’t obviously fix.

So what do we do?

Allow me to interrupt for a moment: Chris Hayes’ program just ended and it seems that they didn’t hit on an answer, so it is up to me. Oh, the responsibility! Good thing no one reads these things I write.

Let the punishment fit the crime. Punish the crime.

What has changed is that Assad (possibly) has committed a new crime. So the answer is to punish Assad–or whomever might have done it if we can figure it out (this is complicated!).

We should not try to fix this war, because we can’t. Even with Sarin on the ground, we still can’t. Sarin doesn’t make anything easier. So we should punish Assad–or whomever might have recently used Sarin, if anyone did.

Okay, maybe we start flying deadly drones over Damascus, or Tartus, and if we get a shot at someone responsible, then yes, we take it. We are causing lots of people to hate us for using drones around the world, I think we might improve our reputation with a drone or two over Tartus.

The crime was (possibly) using Sarin, in which case we should punish those who (possibly) did it.

The news out of Syria for the last two years makes me sick. It is horrible. Tens of thousands have been killed, raped, tortured, imprisoned. If you like “culture” more than humans: centuries old cultural heritage sites have been destroyed. It is horrible no matter how you look at it.

I would like that there would be something that we could do to make Syria better. And…if our punishment for this crime were to kill senior figures in Assad’s government and army…maybe it would make things better. I can’t see how it would make things much worse.

Let the punishment fit the crime. Take out those who (might have) done this.

-kb, the Kent who in fact does like The Mikado, and who wonders “Why do you ask?”

© 2013 by Kent Borg

P.S. “The struggle continues. Love, Daddy.”

Associated Press and Passwords

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Dear AP,

Today you tweeted that there were two explosions in the White House and Obama was injured. It seems you didn’t intend to do so. Someone else broke into your Twitter account. In other words, someone else had your password.

Jeeze, it isn’t that complicated:

  1. Make up a password, with some random stuff in it, so it can’t be guessed.
  2. Don’t tell your password to anyone…


  1. Tell Twitter.
  2. Tell those who will be tweeting on your behalf.

Not that complicated.

Do not reuse your password on other systems, don’t e-mail it, don’t let spyware run on your crappy Windows box and see you type it. (Tell those who tweet for you to also not tell anyone.)

It is a piece of information that needs to be managed. If it were a hundred dollar bill you could keep track of it, right? Okay, pretend it is worth at least that much. Use a little care.  (Dear CBS: Didn’t you lose your Twitter password recently, too? Same lecture. Shape up.)

-kb, the Kent who is getting tired of such sloppiness.

© 2013 by Kent Borg

Guns: But WHO Loves Them?

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

There is nothing more red-blooded-American than being a gun nut, right?  Patriotic, tyrant opposing, freedom loving, fundamentalist, God fearing, American!

That’s the PR.

Okay, what if brown-skinned men with heavy beards joined in? Show up at rallies. Testify before lawmakers, with thick accents even. Fundamentalists, Muslims fundamentalists! What would that do to gun PR?

Hmmm, it might just get a bunch of brown-skinned men with heavy beards killed. Might also break the spell that guns have over us.

-kb, the Kent who admits he is a troublemaker.

© 2013 by Kent Borg