Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Syria and Changing One’s Opinion

Posted by Warren Peterson on September 6, 2013

A former co-worker sent the below e-mail. Rather than comment on it or the articles he recommended, I decided to just pass it on verbatim. I read both the article from the “Atlantic” magazine and the one titled, “The Backfire Effect.” They are both interesting, thought provoking and in this age of Internet information overload, just a little bit scary. Take the time to read them, “you will not regret it.”

Friends and Family,

This article seems straightforward, thorough, and objective. It was written by William R. Polk, introduced and annotated by James Fallows. Both these gentlemen are Democrats, both fairly liberal, HOWEVER (before my conservative friends automatically hit the [reject] button), both men have a long history of reasonable discourse, both have impeccable credentials (knowledge and experience) concerning the middle east, and both are opposed to Obama’s stated objective of attacking Syrian government facilities.

The article provides an array of background to the current situation — historical, religious, geopolitical, even climactic. The questions asked are the right ones, and the answers display a clarity and logic that I find unassailable. I sincerely wish all our US Congressmen and Senators would read this, especially the knee-jerk war-hawks. That’s unlikely, I know…and even if they did read it, their preconceptions and convictions would likely only grow stronger and more ingrained (read about the Backfire Effect, as described by David McRaney, http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect// ).

But you, gentle readers, if you currently support Obama’s adventuristic aims on Syria, perhaps, with sufficient logical argument, you could be persuaded to change an opinion…right? Or maybe you are already convinced that any attack on Syria at this point would be an excursion into Hell, but would like some supporting data/info. Either way, please find the time to read this article. I promise, you will not regret it.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/09/your-labor-day-syria-reader-part-2-william-polk/279255/

Jim

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One Response to “Syria and Changing One’s Opinion”

  1. Nothing certain is known about the authority (if any) that the kings of Ur exercised in Syria, so far away from their capital. The end of their dynasty, however, was brought about chiefly by the pressure of a new Semitic migration from Syria, this time of the Amorites (i.e., the westerners), as they were called in Babylonia. Between about 2000 and 1800 bce they covered both Syria and Mesopotamia with a multitude of small principalities and cities, mostly governed by rulers bearing some name characteristic of the Semitic dialect that the Amorites spoke. The period of Amorite ascendancy is vividly mirrored in the Mari Letters, a great archive of royal correspondence found at the site of Mari , near the modern frontier with Iraq . Among the principal figures mentioned are the celebrated lawgiver Hammurabi of Babylon (himself an Amorite) and a king of Aleppo, part of whose kingdom was the city of Alalakh , on the Orontes near what was later Antioch . Around 1600 bce northern Syria, including the cities of Alalakh, Aleppo, and Ebla in its Amorite phase, suffered destruction at the hands of the aggressive Hittite kings, Hattusilis I or Mursilis I , from central Anatolia.

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