With no international support and headed for a humiliating defeat in Congress President Obama seized on a Russian plan to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria as a way to hold off on bombing Syria. He announced it in his speech last night (9/10/13).
As usual no evidence was given of responsibility of the Assad government in the attack. The usual charges were made, a chemical attack, 1,400 dead, hundreds of children killed. “No one disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria.” even though many observers do dispute many of the White House charges.
There was one new charge or detail in the overall charge. Obama claimed about Assad forces, “they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighborhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces.”
Now it is very possible that Assad’s forces did do a chemical attack, maybe as Obama describes, maybe 1,400 were killed (though the numbers are higher than all other estimates), but is breathtaking that corporate media doesn’t ask for any proof. Obama and Hegel say the evidence is classified and the meek sheep-like TV stations and big newspapers just bleat “yes” and go on to other matters. No one has seen rocket fragments with traces of chemicals. No one has heard the audio files of the Syrian officers supposedly discussing use of chemicals. No one has looked at satellite photos (videos) of the rockets. No one outside the Administration has seen the blood and samples. No one has read the U.N. report on what happened in Syria (because it isn’t complete and hasn’t been published). The secrecy obsessed Obama Administration shows nothing to anyone, even Congress. Only one very good AP report has mentioned the lack of evidence.
Obama had the gall to mention the words “international law” in his speech. He said that if nothing was done about Syrian chemical weapons then it would make it harder to enforce other international laws. He warns about “Iran — which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon, or to take a more peaceful path.” There was no mention of Israel which actually has the weapons and more importantly there was no mention of the international law which bans regimes like the one Obama heads from making war whenever it wants.
As I write this I’m listening to Democracy Now as Noam Chomsky demolishes the president’s arguments one by one. He really took off on Obama’s claim that the U.S. government is the “anchor of global security”, mentioning in particular how Nixon overthrew Allende on a 9/11 decades ago and talking about Iran, Vietnam, Indonesia, etc. He dryly notes that as far as “international law” is concerned the U.S. “self-excludes” itself from every measure it finds inconvenient from the International Criminal Court to the law against genocide.
I’m not one for predictions but things could go two way here, either the White House will do the usual and make the bar for getting rid of the weapons so impossibly high that no agreement will be made and it will go on and bamboozle the public into thinking that everything “was tried” and that there is no alternative but bombing
anti-war forces will keep up the pressure and Obama will look to “save face” and make some kind of agreement with Syria and Russia on chemicals and pull back from the conflict.