The War Party’s Syria narrative is beginning to unravel – and, with it, support for yet another U.S. military intervention in the region.
Initially, we were told the U.S. had incontrovertible proof the regime of Bashar al-Assad was responsible for attacking the rebel town of Ghouta with chemical weapons, and that the substance involved was undoubtedly sarin gas. Outrage followed, with news of an impending US strike supposedly scheduled to occur on Thursday or Friday at the latest. However, that appears to have been put on hold as a backlash over the rush to war gathers steam. British lawmakers put the kibosh on the UK’s plans to join the American bombardment as a full-scale backbencher revolt threatened the Tory-Liberal Democrat government and the Labor Party balked. In the end, Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to promise not one but two votes in Parliament before the Brits lend “direct” support to the Obama administration’s war plans. It didn’t matter: they voted the war down anyway.
Here in the U.S., as polls show overwhelming opposition to this latest Middle Eastern crusade, around 140 members of our own sleepy-eyed vacationing Congress remembered that archaic document known as the Constitution, and demanded to be be called back into session to debate the question. Chemical weapons experts began to weigh in, calling BS on rebel claims even as our Secretary of State cited youtube.com videos as definitive proof of Assad’s perfidy.
Growing skepticism was given added impetus when the source of that “signals intelligence” cited in media reports – which purportedly proved the Syrian government’s responsibility for the attack – was revealed. The Israelis have been trying to drag us into war with Syria and its ally Iran since before the invasion of Iraq: that they are now wielding a “smoking gun” to trigger that conflict is beyond suspicious. Not that they would ever lie to us, you understand, or even exaggerate …. But still: is this the best the War Party can do?
While Cameron protests “this is not Iraq,” the parallels with the run up to that disaster are positively eerie: claims of WMD, cloudy “intelligence,” and American intelligence officials anonymously debunking the White House’s self-righteous certitude. As the Associated Press reports, it’s “no slam dunk”:
“Over the past six months, with shifting front lines in the 2 1/2-year-old civil war and sketchy satellite and human intelligence coming out of Syria, U.S. and allied spies have lost track of who controls some of the country’s chemical weapons supplies, according to the two intelligence officials and two other US officials.
“US satellites have captured images of Syrian troops moving trucks into weapons storage areas and removing materials, but US analysts have not been able to track what was moved or, in some cases, where it was relocated. They are also not certain that when they saw what looked like Assad’s forces moving chemical supplies, those forces were able to remove everything before rebels took over an area where weapons had been stored.”
So why couldn’t the rebels be responsible? After all, it’s not like the “ethics” of al-Qaeda – with whom these “rebels” are affiliated – would forbid the use of such weapons.