Obama administration still hasn’t proved that Assad was responsible for the gas attack

There is, therefore, absolutely no reason for the U.S. to attack Syria. Doing so will only benefit al-Qaeda. “Direct link between Assad and gas attack elusive for U.S.,” by Mark Hosenball for Reuters, September 7:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With the United States threatening to attack Syria, U.S. and allied intelligence services are still trying to work out who ordered the poison gas attack on rebel-held neighborhoods near Damascus.

No direct link to President Bashar al-Assad or his inner circle has been publicly demonstrated, and some U.S. sources say intelligence experts are not sure whether the Syrian leader knew of the attack before it was launched or was only informed about it afterward.

While U.S. officials say Assad is responsible for the chemical weapons strike even if he did not directly order it, they have not been able to fully describe a chain of command for the August 21 attack in the Ghouta area east of the Syrian capital.

It is one of the biggest gaps in U.S. understanding of the incident, even as Congress debates whether to launch limited strikes on Assad’s forces in retaliation.

After wrongly claiming that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction before the 2003 U.S. invasion, the U.S. intelligence community, along with the Obama administration, are trying to build as solid a case as they can about what it says was a sarin nerve gas attack that killed over 1,400 people.

The Syrian government, backed by Russia, blames Sunni rebels for the gas attack. Russia says Washington has not provided convincing proof that Assad’s troops carried out the attack and called it a “provocation” by rebel forces hoping to encourage a military response by the United States.

Identifying Syrian commanders or leaders as those who gave an order to fire rockets into the Sunni Muslim areas could help Obama convince a war-weary American public and skeptical members of Congress to back limited strikes against Assad.

But penetrating the secretive Syrian government is tough, especially as it fights a chaotic civil war for its survival.

“Decision-making at high levels within foreign governments is always a difficult intelligence target. Typically small numbers of people are involved, operational security is high, and penetration – through either human or technical means – is hard,” said Paul Pillar, a former CIA expert on the Middle East.

One possible link between the gas attack and Assad’s inner circle is the Syrian government body that is responsible for producing chemical weapons, U.S. and allied security sources say.

Personnel associated with the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Council (SSRC), which has direct ties to Assad’s entourage, were likely involved in preparing munitions in the days before the attack, they say.

A declassified French intelligence report describes a unit of the SSRC, known by the code name “Branch 450″, which it says is in charge of filling rockets or shells with chemical munitions in general.

U.S. and European security sources say this unit was likely involved in mixing chemicals for the August 21 attack and also may have played a more extensive role in preparing for it and carrying it out.

“BEST EVIDENCE”

Bruce Riedel, a former senior U.S. intelligence expert on the region and sometime advisor to the Obama White House, said that intelligence about the SSRC’s alleged role is the most telling proof the United States has at hand.

“The best evidence linking the regime to the attack at a high level is the involvement of SSRC, the science center that created the (chemical weapons) program and manages it. SSRC works for the President’s office and reports to him,” Riedel said.

U.S. officials say Amr Armanazi, a Syrian official identified as SSRC director in a State Department sanctions order a year ago, was not directly involved.

Much of the U.S. claim that Assad is responsible was initially based on reports from witnesses, non-governmental groups and hours of YouTube videos.

U.S. officials have not presented any evidence to the public of scientific samples or intelligence information proving that sarin gas was used or that the Syrian government used it.

The United States has also not named any Syrian commanders it thinks gave the green light to fire gas-laden rockets into Ghouta.

But U.S. and allied security sources say they believe that Syrian military units responsible for the areas that were attacked were under heavy pressure from top commanders to wipe out a stubborn rebel presence there so government troops could redeploy to other trouble spots, including the city of Aleppo.

An analysis by the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress, reported that a declassified U.S. government paper summarizing intelligence findings concludes that Syrian government officials were “witting and directed” the gas attack. But the evidence of who ordered it was not watertight, the analysis said….

Despite lack of evidence for his claims, Obama rejects G20 pressure to abandon Syria air strike plan
Europe urging US to delay action in Syria, France now pulling back
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Comments

  1. says

    It makes no sense for Assad to gas so close to Damascus. All the opposition did here was gas their own human shields, which was a game changer to draw in big guns from the West against Assad. Sneaky demonic move to the max, and Russia blew the whistle on them. UK immediately backpedaled and France is getting cold feet. Looks like Obama and Kerry are hanging on their own on this one. UN will remain indecisive, so if they bomb Syrian positions, it would be a coup for the Jihadist opposition. Sad to see US duped so easily. I hope they call the whole thing off.

  2. says

    Listen folks, I’m TOTALLY opposed to an attack on Syria….even if we HAVE incontrovertible proof that the regime was responsible.

    Nonetheless, here’s my problem with the assertions of the article. There is the unmistakable suggestion that even if the Syrian military is responsible, there is no established linkage to Assad and his inner circle. This is parsing in the worst kind of way. What are we expecting to find…notarized hand-written orders? A broadcast from state-run media?

    It reminds me of the US government slapping sanctions on foreign corporations and/or institutions because we don’t have the guts to punish the country in question. We slap sanctions on Iran’s IRG, or on certain Generals in the North Korean leadership, or on Russian companies doing business with rogue states. What the hell is that? Whatever ensuing economic fall-out occurs, the regimes in question will compensate the institutions and/or individuals hurt by the sanctions…because after all, THEY WERE JUST IMPLEMENTING STATE POLICY!

    Of course there is always the possibility the rebels were responsible for the gassing. But unless that is proven, then the responsibility MUST fall on the government. Assad runs a tight-ship…his is a totalitarian dictatorship. I think if we’re being rational, we can presume that on an issue as important as using chemical weapons, no local Syrian commander would dare do so without orders from above.

  3. says

    It is entirely within the realm of possibility that the sarin gas was released (eg. via methods similar to the attack on the Tokyo subway trains in 1995) by the rebels during conventional bombardment by Assad batteries. The presence of gas would then look like the Assad army munitions had chemical payload. This would be easy to do and the deception easy to detect if a) the chemical composition of the delivered chemical agents was known, and b) the samples from the tissues, soil and missile fragments were gathered while the chemicals still had detectable trace.

  4. says

    Oops! I did not append the last paragraph:

    It really speaks volumes of the grade of the “intelligence assessments” that a scenario of rebels’ “spoofing” a chemical bombardment has not been considered. Instead, we have been offered preposterous assurances that the rebels were not in a position to launch a chemical attack because they did not have delivery systems. The point is they do not need guns or missile launchers. They can carry liquid sarin in plastic bags or other containers and then release the contents by the most primitive methods.

  5. says

    Sarin gas is a mixture of sodium fluoride (put in many US water supplies)alcohol and a chemical with a long name, that can be purchased at any chemical supply store. At least that’s what I read.
    I would expect you could mix those in a plastic bag, or a rubber balloon to be thrown into a crowd or something. I’m surprise there has not been another well publicized gas attack to put more pressure on the US.

  6. says

    Iraq’s ambassador to the US was interviewed on NPR and he was diplomatically warning Obama to NOT help Al-Qaeda in Syria. He said that they are going through hell in Iraq because of the same people who are fighting Assad in Syria.

  7. says

    After wrongly claiming that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction before the 2003…

    After the invasion was over and the WMD search began, a large depot was soon found empty but containing heavy traces of sarin. It was assumed that the nerve gas had been there and was moved to Syria during the invasion.

    Just because the mainstream media doesn’t report something doesn’t mean it’s not true.

  8. says

    When Saddam Hussain used chemical weapons against Iran, US didn’t even raise an eyebrow.

    Why the moral outrage now?

    Best way is to let the muslims fight it out among themselves.

    The west should only worry about non-muslims trapped there unfortunately.

  9. says

    We have a “new” syndicated radio talk show host in our area; Laura Ingraham. She is a smart lady. She has a moral compass.

    Ingraham and Bill O’Reilly have been at odds over the Syria issue on The Factor. O’Reilly supports giving Obama authorization to use military force against Assad because not doing so would send a terrible message, especially to Iran. (Though in the past O’Reilly has argued against bombing Iran’s nuclear sites, fearing it would start a regional war.)

    Ingraham is against granting Obama authorization to use force, arguing that after supporting George W. Bush and his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, she is willing to learn from her past mistakes. Ingraham believes Bush’s foreign policy is in some way to blame for the rise of Barack Obama. I happen to agree.

    O’Reilly argues on his nightly program that conservatives who oppose Obama on Syria are doing so because it IS Barack Obama asking for authorization. Ingraham is offended by the accusation, suggesting on her radio program, no matter who was in the White House she would oppose it.

    I seldom agree with O’Reilly (he is too supportive of Barack Obama) but I agree with him on this. Obama’s track record in the region is terrible. In both Libya and Egypt President Obama supported the most extreme interpretation of Islam (sharia-compliant jihadists) against “autocratic-military Arab regimes.” Obama and his administration court Muslim Brotherhood activists here at home. They counsel with them on Syria and other issues. Obama, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and others support these same bad actors in Syria against the Assad dictator.

    Watch Senator McCain: http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/video-mccain-confronted-by-syrian-at-townhall/

    If we had a president whose motives I could trust, I would probably feel different about Syria. I do NOT trust Barack Obama. He has been very bad for this country, the Middle East and North Africa, etc.

  10. says

    Before I formed my own opinion I did not read Ambassador’s Yoram Ettinger partisan free assessment….I swear.

    There are probably at least 52 million people in America who do not trust obama. After his cairo speech, enablement of the MB in Egypt, the benghazi episode, and his domestic failures, mere suspicion has turned into metaphysical certainty on the minds of a lot of us. As long as he continues to believe and promote that islam is not the problem, that it is not at war with America, I rather trust Putin than a proven strategic myopic on muslim issues.This is why many on the right are proceeding with “caution” on this one.

  11. says

    Trying to think like Obama is begging for a migraine. But, I’ll risk it with a couple of wild-ass guesses. These are only guesses:

    1. He’s looking for his defining “presidential” moment; where he “stands tall” and uses his might to lead the “international community” against the “forces of evil.”

    2. He–and his whole adminstration– are in the Saudis’ pocket and are eager to do their bidding; He has lots of company there–including people (like McCain and Graham) who technically reside in the opposing party, but, like Obama, never met a Jihadist–especially a Sunni–they didn’t like.

    3. Manufacturing a “world” crisis conveniently diverts attention from his numerous scandals and disasters (ObamaCare, Benghazi, amnesty, etc.).

    4. He thinks he can send Iran a “message” by attacking Syria–a much “softer” target and easier-sell (so he thought) than directly confronting Iran itself.

    So, I’m guessing he thought this would be a slam-dunk and a personal triumph on multiple fronts. Of course, being Obama, he botched it trying to play at John Wayne” and painted himself into a corner. No one (with any sense) wants to track through that wet paint and join him there! And, so we see the painful truth…he’s not man enough–or principled enough–to do it on his own. He thought he could play a quick game of “Chicken.” Predictably, he lost. Unfortunately, when he loses…America loses, too.

    Please pass the Excedrin…

  12. says

    Kerry says the US response will be limited to degrading Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons.
    That would somewhat reassuring except for the first two words in that sentence.

  13. says

    Unholy smoke and mirrors

    Bullwinkle: (OBAMA)
    “Well, if you can’t believe what you read in a comic book, (Huff Post)
    what can you believe?”

    Natasha (Huma Abedin) Obama’s trusted Islamic advisor says “Hello, dahlink
    I would love it eef you hurry and get Boris Badenov: (MORSI) out of the clink”
    and bomb Assad in the name of justice, wink, wink.

    Rocky (the Jihad Watcher) says Morsi is big trouble and so is Syria’s al Qaeda.
    Boris Badenov: “Shut up your mouth.”

    Kerry (Mr. know it all) says Look, it’s their show if the Saidi-Qatari-Turkey
    sponsors want us to kill and bow; we only need ask them how”

    Bullwinkle: “Hey, Rocky, relax watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.”
    Bullwinkle: “Oops, wrong hat.”

    Rocky (the Jihad Watcher) says Holy smoke Bullwinkle
    you are totally out of control.

  14. says

    I’ve got to admit I’m a bit conflicted…

    While “letting the muslims fight it out amongst themselves” is a very attractive solution, it doesn’t solve the problem of Saddam’s old chemical/biological weapons stashed by Assad. Don’t we have something in our arsenal that could literally vaporize any WMD’s?

    Granted, I’m not conflicted in any way about Obama; his utter hypocrisy, his lack of resolve, his amateur hour trying to play in the big boy arena facade, or his unconstitutional/un-Aamerican tendencies…

    BUT… I also don’t see the wisdom in allowing these 7th century barbarians keeping any WMD’s in their possession EVER! The same goes for Iran, why we haven’t bombed them back to the stone age can only be explained IMHO is that the Muslim Brotherhood’s greatest supporter is hoping to bring them under a new Sunni Caliphate.

  15. says

    Hoops, did we just date ourselves….

    To a great degree the strategy of dealing with the
    thugs trying to control things in the mohammedan asylum is very similar to the one employed in your typical low end school playground. You first have to unequivocally show the bully your intent of not cowering down, then you have to pack a punch sufficiently strong for them to realize that worse will follow until he ceases his intimidation scheme.
    Liberals have for the last 3 decades done exactly the opposite; They have been sending signals that we will not respond, and even when we do, they ensure we only slap our foes.

  16. says

    PS
    In case there are any Jihad Watchers not from the US who might be interested in the above referenced item please Google
    “Rocky and Bulwinkle”

  17. says

    But if Assad did use chemical weapons, what then?

    How do we stop Assad and other dictators?

    Ask Israel.

    Assad and his dad before him haven’t attacked their most hated enemy, Israel, in 30 years whereas the Israelis have launched at least 4 attacks on them in just the last year.

    The reason is simple. Every dictator gets a distinct loosening of the bowels whenever their personal safety is threatened.

    And so the best response to Assad’s murder is to assassinate Assad.

    There’s a great take on that in: “Do Nothing, Or Kill The Bastard” at:

    http://john-moloney.blogspot.com/2013/09/war-games.html

  18. says

    Why are you guys complicating this. We should simply be against all Muslims. Once we’re clear about that, we can rationally make distinctions among their psychopathic differences for our own benefit.

  19. says

    Before any civilized democratic court the accused one is acquitted of ‘lack of evidence’

    … BUT not in the U.S. dictatorship of OBOWma!

  20. says

    While Obama continues to obfuscate about important matters, so too does one important wing of the Counter-Jihad — concerning the outrageous treatment of Diana West and her new book.

    For full details, read this:

    http://gatesofvienna.net/2013/09/the-rebuttal-part-one/#comment-149543

    And be sure to follow up with their links there:

    Previous posts about the controversy over American Betrayal by Diana West:

    2013 Aug 11 Diana West: On the Question of “Scholarship”
    13 Yet Another Circular Conservative Firing Squad
    14 Cordon Sanitaire: FAIL
    15 On Reading the Book
    16 Banishing the Cathars
    18 Form and Substance
    22 “It’s All in Plain Sight”
    30 When Should a Book Not Be Written?
    Sep 3 Recognizing the Wrong People
    6 The Totalitarian Impulse

  21. says

    Obama/ Kerry are going all out to get support. Like the global warming movie of Al Gore showing the Statue of Liberty underwater and fake pictures of Polar bears drowning – they are going for dramatic visual effects and emotional responses.

    “U.S. releases classified video of Syria sarin victims”

    “The U.S. government has released video of the aftermath of a sarin attack in Syria shown to senators as they consider whether to back military action.”

    “First on CNN: Videos show glimpse into evidence for Syria intervention”

    “CNN was the first to obtain the 13 different videos seen by members of the Senate Intelligence Committee that depict the gruesome scene of an chemical weapons attack in Syria on August 21. The administration told senators that their authenticity was verified by the intelligence community.

    The attack, allegedly carried out by Syrian forces under President Bashar al-Assad, has touched off the most critical foreign policy question since the uprising began in 2011: Is a military response merited?”

    But somewhere in the article:

    While the videos are hard to watch, they do not prove who is responsible for the attack, nor do they provide an answer for whether military strikes are the correct course.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/07/politics/us-syria-chemical-attack-videos/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

  22. says

    So, let me get this straight…

    After Benghazi, everything was blamed on a cheesy movie about Mohammed, done by an ex-meth head, who has only recently been released from his cozy, political-prisoner digs at some correctional facility in California. We now know (actually, we all knew immediately) that that video had squat to do with anything.

    Now those same clowns who tried to pull that wool over our eyes, are asking us to do the same thing – believe a bunch of videos on YouTube!

    No thanks. I’m not buying it. I’m not buying anything the Obozo administration sells – videos, phony photoshopped birth certificates, OR supposedly reliable…what was it?

    Oh yeah…YouTube videos.

    Pffft!

  23. says

    Perhaps the real reason for Obama declaring war on Syria, is to destroy Israel.

    Absurd??

    Well, Obama is a Muslim Sunni while Assad is Alawite-Shia-Christian.* Obama cannot attack Israel, as the American people will not let him. But he can destabilise Syria to such an extent that the victorious Syrian terrorists do attack Israel – with Assad’s sarin gas. Job done, for a Sunni Muslim like Obama – 5 million Jews killed.

    Remember that it is President Obama who bows before the Sunni Saudi King, and obeys Sunni Saudi commands:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CseUglupmZk

    And it is Obama who is a Sunni Muslim Brotherhood supporter, funded by Saudi Arabia:
    http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/egypt-rejects-obama-and-muslim-brotherhood-military-coup-july-03-2013.jpg
    http://frontpagemag.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Egypt-Obama-Morsi.jpg
    http://markhumphrys.com/Images/obama.5.jpg

    This US attack on Assad could well be a Sunni Muslim take-over of the Middle East, and they will be using their dhimmi serfs in the USA to do it for them, just as Muslims have always used their dhimmi serfs to do their dirty-work.*** Be very careful of the Sunni Muslim cuckoo** in the West.

    * The Alawite refuse to go to mosque, and celebrate Christmas.
    ** An Obamakoo ??
    *** Under Islam, since the 7th century the Mid East was always run as a serf-slave economy, with the Muslims ruling and the Judaeo-Christian majority doing all the work.

    Aton

  24. says

    >>It really speaks volumes of the grade of the “intelligence assessments”
    >>that a scenario of rebels’ “spoofing” a chemical bombardment has
    >>not been considered.

    And not only ‘spoofing’, which was my initial assessment, but also the possibility of them preparing a weapon and having a big accident.

    Here are Syrian rebel terrorists preparing a chemical weapon attack in Damascus. So what if this munition went wrong, and just exploded where it was?

    http://www.wnd.com/files/2013/08/syrian-rebels.jpg

    Aton

  25. says

    Oh, and before I go, three more reasons for not attacking Assad.

    Two years ago I made the prediction that if Assad falls…..

    a. Assad will try to use all of his chemical weapons, in a modern-day Armageddon – on Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

    b. That the victorious butcher terrorists fighting Assad would murder and exile the 4 million Alawites and 4 million Christians in Syria.

    c. That those same terrorists fighting Assad will then use what is left of Syria’s 3,000 tonnes of sarin and VX gas on the London and New York metros.

    And none of these scenario’s is very palatable.

    .

    Do remember that Assad is not fighting for himself. He is fighting for his Alawite clan, as he knows they will all be killed if he ever loses power. The Alawite were a despised minority who lived in the gutters of Syria for 1,200 years, because they are not real Muslims – they are half Christian.

    The Alawites were put into power by the French, after the Ottoman Empire fell. So do you think the Alawite will willingly go back to the gutters of Syrian society? No. Besides, after after the Hama massacre by Assad’s father, when 40,000 Sunnis were killed; and now the massacres in the modern conflict, where another 80,000 Sunnis have been killed – do you think a single Alawite will be spared in Syria?

    Of course not. Every Alawite knows they will be slaughtered if Assad is deposed, so they are fighting for their very lives. They will never give up. And if they do lose, then Assad will simply rain sarin gas on all his enemies before he goes. Better go out in a blaze of glory, than back to the gutters of Eastern, Muslim society.

    But the BBC will not tell you that. And our politicians do not know that. And so they devise strategies in a vacuum of ignorance.

    Why oh why is the West always blessed with brain-dead politicians? It is time to rethink how democracy works – we need a system where only those with 25 working years in productive industries can apply, and anyone with a degree in law or social studies is instantly banned.

    Aton.

  26. says

    >>Here is what former Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Yoram
    >>Ettinger, wrote in answer to my inquiry about Syria

    Spot on. Everyone please read this (above).

    Yes, I have noticed, both Russia and Israel are capable of producing realist politicians, but the liberal West is not. We have lived in a fog of BBC-style propaganda for so long, we have forgotten what real life and real society is all about.

    (The BBC thinks everyone is wonderful and nice. And if you are a foreigner or a minority, you are better than anyone else. But somehow those BBC truisms do not apply to Assad – not sure why.)

    Aton.

  27. says

    Here is a Syrian woman pleading with the idiot McCain not to bomb Syria. She tells him – you say there is no alternative to bombs but I say there is an alternative, tell Saudi Arabia and Iran – hands off.

    Idiot McCain looks away with a pained expression. This is as much as I could watch. What I would like to do to McCain cant be put in words. But something not very pleasant.

    “Emotional Woman Attacks John McCain on Syria at Town Hall – 9-”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hzH7BxFEzDs#t=116

  28. says

    Caveat emptor here.

    With great respect for Robert Spencer and his work, read accounts of this sort with a wide open mind. Unless authors of these pieces are actually sitting inside the conference rooms of these secured, closed door meetings, they really can’t know very much about what’s going on.

    About “leaks”, “authoritative sources”, “official sources” “not for attribution” and the like……think of the motives behind these leaks and the one actually doing the leaking….why is he/she doing this when it’s all supposed to be “secret”?

    Regarding the gleeful accounts of “Bush lied!”, “…no WMD’s found in Iraq!”, etc etc.

    Remember that Saddam gassed the Kurds, gassed the Iranians [allegedly with American help in the days when Iran was a greater immediate threat than Saddam], invaded Kuwait, was an immediate threat to the World’s oil supply, on and on and on.

    Remember the trucks headed towards the Syrian border when Saddam’s collapse was imminent, remember that most of our foreign “allied” intelligence agencies were in agreement that Saddam had WMD’s, that it was widely known that Saddam was working towards nuclear research. Consider that there’s an awful lot of open areas in Iraq with lots and lots of sand suitable for burying “evidence”…..where does on start digging?

    There’s an awful lot going on that we’ll never know.

    Caveat emptor.

  29. says

    Naturally I’m against the gassing of anyone, however, Why are we discussing military action for Syria when Obama refused to sent any help to save the lives of our own Americans in Bosnia? As I understand it, there were to the tune of several hundred missiles stolen by the invading killers. Obama won’t even capture one of the perpetrators for interrogation. What gives here? Furthermore, Obama’s eavesdropping on Americans are supposedly so thorough he has every facet of communication stored for him to use at his beckoning. Another thing. He can pinpoint the location of a calf with mad cow disease and the source of the disease itself but, he can’t find illegal aliens. That didn’t hold to well so he took it upon himself to release them (including some heavy criminals) from our jails while he works out a way to grant them amnesty. And he wonders why he’s losing support?

  30. says

    Makes absolutely no sense for Assad to risk drawing the US into the war !

    Who has been trying to get the US involved ? It was the so called Rebels who are perfectly capable of killing their own to draw the US in to defeat Assad !

    Obama is the worst President ever and he is denying he drew the RED line . A total blunder that could have caused the Rebels to kill 1400 Syrians to push him over the RED line !!

  31. says

    Here in Australia we keep getting the pictures of people supposedly dead or dying from a chemical attack, ( I assume this to promote sympathy and horror.) However, nobody has been able to prove who it was who did the attacking. I assume we are just supposed to accept it is Assad because this is what your administration or President, wants.
    No way should the West get involved in Syria because ,in my mind, it would be an opening salvo for WWIII.

  32. says

    My sources tell me that there are dozens of questions that Obama has not answered over the years. So why should this one matter so much?

    At some point someone in a leadership position might ask why we don’t charge Obama with treason?

  33. says

    Cornelius wrote: “Listen folks, I’m TOTALLY opposed to an attack on Syria….even if we HAVE incontrovertible proof that the regime was responsible….”

    You raise a valid point.

    This issue (was Assad responsible for the gas attack?) is not relevant to many / most who oppose “a surgical offensive on Syria’s non-conventional weapons infrastructure.” They would oppose giving Obama a green light even if it were proven Assad was behind the attack.

    When I see these reports from people who oppose going after Assad’s WMD, it looks like a kind of rationalization. If you oppose destroying Assad’s WMD capability, you oppose it regardless.

  34. says

    I accept most of your analysis except the presumption regarding “no local Syrian commander would dare do so without orders from above.”

    Not all commanders are completely loyal, they defect. Sabotaging assad’s cause prior to their Turkey vacation is not too inconceivable. In fact, doing anything in their power to undermine assad prior to their departure would be likely reasonable.

  35. says

    “What are we expecting to find…notarized hand-written orders? A broadcast from state-run media?”

    No but in the face of denial by the Syrian Govt and allegations that the opposition did it, proof is needed.

    Obama wants to strike without proof. This is like a kangaroo court and kangaroo justice.

    “Of course there is always the possibility the rebels were responsible for the gassing. But unless that is proven, then the responsibility MUST fall on the government.”

    So it must be proven that the rebels did it but need not be proven that the Assad Govt did it.

    Assad is guilty till proven innocent and the rebels innocent till proven guilty.

    What sort of justice is that?

  36. says

    “When Saddam Hussain used chemical weapons against Iran, US didn’t even raise an eyebrow.”

    Not exactly, in time This act was used to seal the deal of going against saddam, in bringing justice to the Kurds. Much sacrifice has been done by America in this effort. Remember it was obozo alone who voted against our military action against his name sake, saddam hussain back then.

  37. says

    “When Saddam Hussain used chemical weapons against Iran, US didn’t even raise an eyebrow….”

    My guess is Obama-supporters would argue, liberal Democrats have a better moral compass (or at least Obama does) when it comes to the use of weapons of mass destruction (remember Truman?) than do conservatives and Republicans, especially Reagan Republicans. Saddam’s chemical weapons were mostly used during the Reagan years; on the Iranians and the Kurds.

    I am not saying they are right. I am suggesting that would be their argument.

  38. says

    Not during the Reagan years. I think Reagan administration official pretty much turned a blind eye not only to their use but to U.S. subsidiary corporations providing the chemicals to Iraq, etc.

  39. says

    Did you really believe “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was first and foremost about bringing freedom to Iraq? That was President Bush’s primary motivation?

  40. says

    Would you, if you were a Congressman, vote to authorize a military response in Syria if you were convinced Assad authorized the use of chemical weapons on civilians?

  41. says

    Did you really believe “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was first and foremost about bringing freedom to Iraq? That was President Bush’s primary motivation?

    WJ, pardon me but I do nor recall making the assertion you ascribe to me. You have gone adrift so much in your customary defence of the democratic party and obama that its making you hallucinate.

    In terms of the world being a safer place, in my own mind the Republican party since the time of Carter has done a much better job.

    This syrian business nonetheless has me in a bind. Time will tell if in the end the action or inaction resulted in what matters the most for the future of humanity, eliminating iranian nuclear factories. My suspicion is that obama has thrown a bone to those of us who care about this issue, a distraction, a hurtle from the substantial threat.

  42. says

    “Would you, if you were a Congressman, vote to authorize a military response in Syria if you were convinced Assad authorized the use of chemical weapons on civilians?”

    You would have to add two more assumptions to the one you have made before demandind so.
    Then it would be yes, but not now;

    1) The attack has to be fatally crippling
    2) It helps to facilitate the elimination of the jihadist republic of iran’s nuclear factories
    3) You can do all of this without helping to place into power islamofascists.

  43. says

    You wrote:

    1) The attack has to be fatally crippling
    2) It helps to facilitate the elimination of the jihadist republic of iran’s nuclear factories
    3) You can do all of this without helping to place into power islamofascists.

    If the attack were fatally crippling it would likely place the “Islamofascists” in power.

    Here is what former Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Yoram Ettinger, wrote in answer to my inquiry about Syria. My guess is, he formalized this statement earlier:

    A few thoughts on the Syrian labyrinth:

    1. The anti-US, terrorist Assad regime is opposed by the anti-US, terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and other less significant groups, none of them trending-moderate, pro-US or transitioning towards democracy. While some groups are fighting for democracy, the leading rebels are engaged in a power struggle based on ethnicity, ideology, religion and not on democracy. The US should avoid the critical error of Iran-1978!!!

    2. The Syrian threat to vital US interests (via the threat to pro-US Arab regimes) is a derivative of Iran’s regional and global megalomaniac aspirations. The focus must be on the source and not on the derivative! Shifting attention from Iran to Syria provides Iran with extra time to develop nuclear capabilities.

    3. The Assad regime is – and will be – preoccupied with Syrian boundaries, while the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda are transnational, aspiring to sweep the Middle East and beyond, first and foremost the remaining pro-US Arab regimes such as Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing Gulf states.

    4. The civil war in Syria is a symptom of the past-present-future Arab Middle East at-large, experiencing chaotic implosion and not a transition towards democracy. This is not a private battle of the Assad family; it is a survival battle of the ruling Alawite minority VS the Sunni majority, which cannot be resolved through negotiation.

    5. The US intervention in Libya exacerbated the Libyan disorder.

    6. The weaker the autocratic-military Arab regimes, the stronger are the anti-US, transnational Islamists.

    7. Non-conventional military infrastructure in the hands of Assad or the Muslim Brotherhood, or Al Qaeda should not be tolerated by the Free World. Conventional warfare is less-difficult to contain than non-conventional warfare.

    8. One should not confuse between the critical need to obliterate the non-conventional military infrastructure in Syria on one hand, and the civil war in Syria on the other hand. In other words, a surgical offensive on the Syrian non-conventional infrastructure should not be expanded into the self-destruct intervention in the war between Assad and his opponents.

    9. The choice for the Free World is not between “good” and “bad,” but between “bad,” ‘worse,” and “the worst.”

  44. says

    Obama’s team also fails to inspire much confidence in as far as their capacity to gather facts and make assessments.
    The attached link makes this clear, the skipper placed at the helm is unfit for the task. Even thr most ardent of the left were able to see this when he was show next to Romney, he has the depth of cardboard.
    http://ymlp.com/zFMP6M

  45. says

    4. He thinks he can send Iran a “message” by attacking Syria–a much “softer” target and easier-sell (so he thought) than directly confronting Iran itself.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Bingo!

  46. says

    I am not convinced it is moral for states to use weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, biological, etc.) on civilians or non-civilians but especially on civilians, even if they are “savages.” On this I agree with Obama’s “stated” position. Only Obama seems to be selective with respect to what he considers intolerable behavior by states and therein lies the problem.

  47. says

    So far, it’s just embarrassment and loss of international prestige. That’s damaging enough. But, with Obama at the wheel, it could get worse…

  48. says

    If humiliating Obama by a Congressional “no” vote results in an embarrassment for the U.S. under Obama and loss of international prestige under Obama’s stewardship, for me that would be a good thing because Barack Obama is not “my” president.

    Others might disagree.

  49. says

    If you’re an American, Wildjew, then he IS your president–and mine–whether we like it or not. I know, it’s like a bad dream, isn’t it?
    But there it is…

  50. says

    George, maybe you think I am splitting hairs or parsing words. When I hear a conservative like Sarah Palin say “my” president or “our” president speaking of Obama I cringe. I am reminded of patriotic Germans saying “Yes, my Fuehrer, yes my Fuhrer,” etc., as a token of respect to their Chancellor. Just as Obama is not “my” President, were I a German citizen in the nineteen thirties, early forties, the German Chancellor would not be my Fuhrer, even though both rose to power by democratic means. “The people” do very stupid things, yes? Obama is the democratically elected president of the United States, I realize that.

  51. says

    “degrading” sounds to me like confuse-speak.

    Technically, that can mean that at best, assad will only, assuming he decides to do so, be able to spray the material using cessnas or less effective means which themselves create greater collateral damage on innocent civilians?

    Has it not been that these fussy objectives have left us wallowing in many other misadventures which have resulted in much loss and no victory?

  52. says

    I think you are missing the point.
    My lead-in of (Unholy smoke and mirrors) may have added to the confusion.
    Rocky would often say “holy smoke”
    No religious connotation here.

    In summary:
    Kerry Can’t be trusted.
    Obama is being advised by people with ulterior motives and will probably make matters worse with a supposedly limited attack on Assad.

    The line “Well, if you can’t believe what you read in a comic book, is a classic line of the show mentioned.

    And yes I do understand the seriousness of what is going on as well as the political stupidity.

  53. says

    Jay Boo, your bullwinkle routine is funny, clever with educational merit to boot. The cartoon had it all, espionage, political intrigue, pretty girls and mustachioed, heavily accented villains with fancy mustaches and the affable patriotic moose.
    My favorite Canadian would often follow this show, Dudley Do Right. I wonder if he is retired now somewhere in Canada and is a fellow JW’er?

  54. says

    Thanks for your support
    I think we are showing our age. Most younger folks would probably not be familiar with Dudley Do Right or Rocky & Bulwinkle. One thing both cartoons had in common was the concept of loyalty. Rocky would look out for Bulwinkle and Dudley Do Right would protect Nell. I hope younsters have similar cartoons today but I doubt it.
    Anyway JW’s want to protect the world from the bad guys and will succeed.

  55. says

    “We should simply be against all Muslims.”

    Who said we weren’t?

    Oh, and by ALL Muslims, you must mean that we’ll have to be tracking down that one Muslim that just HAD to be out there with the other 499 Chinese students doing their exercises this morning, dressed in EXACTLY the same uniform, moving EXACTLY the same way, eating EXACTLY the same food, speaking EXACTLY the same language, and who looks exactly like the other 499!

    Got it, Inspector Clouseau.

    Glad you’re on the case!

    Whew! I’m so relieved!

  56. says

    Not absurd at all. Rather obvious. Though the Jihadis will not stop at Israel. Israel is merely at the front line of the global war against jihad.

  57. says

    I don’t watch many Youtube videos. They are the internet where anyone can say anything about anything. A lot of it is pure propaganda.
    Too many people use Youtube to do their talking for them. Watching recommended video’s is an all day proposition. I not only don’t have the desire, I don’t have the time. I never follow a link offered by a Mahoundian or their supporters. Some of them have bugs that jump.

  58. says

    You can rest assured, however, that nearly every one of Hugh Fitzgerald’s many YouTube recommendations will not only be bug-free, but also immensely enjoyable; and if one’s time is deemed to be so important it can’t be wasted on that, all the better reason to pause for an Interlude and click on the roses.