Truth and Syria

Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.”

“Whose sarin?”
Seymour M. Hersh

London Review of Books
19 December 2013

4 thoughts on “Truth and Syria

  1. Personally, I’m disgusted and dismayed by all parties in the Syria conflict. I’m not a whole lot more happy with Obama’s warring activity, particularly with drone warfare.

    • Agreed on Syria and Obama. On drones, I think we need to recognize that we are undermining our standing in a huge part of the world by engaging in robot warfare. We need to sit down and think through protocols for using drones that address what their current use is doing to our soft power.

  2. In an admittedly wildly “liberal” forum the question was asked recently what the US response would be to an attack by a foreign power on US soil that killed all the participants at a wedding — or even an FBI or ATF raid, after a legitimate and known “bad guy”, that took out the whole family, bridesmaids, best men, children, guests, at a nuptial celebration.

    Drone strikes are wildly asymmetrical, terrorizing, and dehumanize everyone in their decision tree. There’s a four-syllable word that neatly and correctly describes this sort of pseudo-military action…

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