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Syria, Russell Brand, and Miley Cyrus: Strange daze indeed

Damascus by night, via Wikimedia under Creative Commons

Damascus by night, via Wikimedia under Creative Commons

Is it just me, or have we been here before? Say, back in 2003, during the buildup to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq? And is something amiss when one of the most reliable voices of reason amid the current World War III scenario is Russell Brand? Or when a (possibly former) entertainment icon for early adolescent girls steals the show by doing a faux softcore stage performance on cable television?

After a week-long mounting media storm here in America, and also in Britain, and also in many other countries, here’s what we’re now faced with:

From CNN this morning:

The United States has concluded Syria carried out chemical weapons attacks against its people, President Barack Obama said Wednesday, a claim that comes amid a looming diplomatic showdown over whether to strike against Bashar al-Assad’s military.

From Reuters yesterday:

President Barack Obama vowed on Wednesday that the Syrian government would face “international consequences” for last week’s deadly chemical attack, but made clear any military response would be limited to avoid dragging the United States into another war in the Middle East.

From The Washington Post this morning:

As the United States and its allies weigh limited military strikes against Syria, their lawyers have been exploring a range of legal frameworks for any operation, including propositions that members of the international community have the right to use force to protect civilians or to deter a rogue nation from using chemical weapons.

However, the Post also reports that

the Obama administration’s efforts to build a legal case are encountering skepticism from U.N. officials and other experts, including former Republican and Democratic State Department lawyers, who argue that the use of force against the Syrian regime, absent a U.N. Security Council resolution, would be illegal.

On the other hand, the Associated Press (via Yahoo! News) reports that

Britain’s leaders said Thursday it would be legal under humanitarian doctrine to launch a military strike against Syria even without authorization from the United Nations Security Council.

Meanwhile, Reuters (via Yahoo! News Canada) reports that

Russia is sending two warships to the east Mediterranean, Interfax news agency said on Thursday, but Moscow denied this meant it was beefing up its naval force there as Western powers prepare for military action against Syria. Read the rest of this entry