Sunday morning fog up here on California’s north coast — feels like it’s foggy all over the world.
And it feels like we’re all on a precarious precipice as plastered by the platoons of talking heads on the TV this morning — an alliteration of assholes, no doubt. All posturing on Syria — the road to Damascus paved with bat-shit crazy, and scorched with “…the use of dastardly weapons,” but depending upon the viewpoint.
One element in a perfect potpourri of a storm.
(Illustration: Rene Magritte’s ‘La Clairvoyance‘ found here).
President Obama is pulling out all the stops in an unmitigated attempt to win some clout-support for his whatever-type military strike against the Assad government. Interviews all over the media, and a major speech set for Tuesday. The White House also released gruesome video I’d seen a couple of weeks ago (most-likely, too, anybody else online who closely follows the news) to CNN and other outlets to graphically visualize Obama’s retaliatory intentions in Syria.
Yeah, the hospital scenes are gut-and-heart-breaking, and way-morally bat-shit crazy, but what action should be taken to stop this use of CW without shitting into your mess kit.
And why start screaming now about Assad, getting all wet up in the face, after already 100,000-plus Syrians have died in the uprising the last two years. All from bombs, bullets and a shitload of other explosive, deadly devices drawn from the arsenal of conventional war-making — CW has this poisoning effect on perception of waging war, it seems.
Up to date, The Week has a good post on the historical aspects of chemical warfare, and seemingly this shit has been around awhile, back even to 600 B.C. Athens and Spartan.
CW is repulsively scary just in thought:
Bombs, missiles, and other munitions achieve very similar results, especially when dropped on civilian areas.
But chemical weapons evoke a strong emotional response, perhaps because they can be invisible, and victims often suffer slow and agonizing deaths, convulsing and gasping for breath.
“This ‘chemical weapons taboo’ appears to have originated in the innate human aversion to poisonous substances,” says Jonathan Tucker, author of a history of chemical weapons.
Tucker says that established nations also look at such weapons as cowardly and ignoble — as a “duplicitous use of poison by the weak to defeat the strong without a fair physical fight.”
And especially if the victims are young children — bad shit the Syrian government (both from daddy Assad and the current psychopathic son) has been stockpiling CW since the 1970s and early 80s, estimated now to be more than 1,000 tons. All the right ones, too: sarin, VX (a persistent form of sarin that could render a city uninhabitable “for some days,” according to the CIA), tabun (another older nerve agent) plus blistering agents like mustard, phosgene and hydrogen cyanide. In addition, it is believed to have large stores of “precursor chemicals” that it could use to create more of the toxic agents.
All this shit stored in moveable locations around Syria — one would have to bomb the entire country to stop its use.
Yet this is what Obama is intends to do if given the green light. Even if Assad personally had nothing to do with the Aug 21 attack, as the Germans were claiming today via some intelligence intercepts. And from Assad himself, of course, trying to clear another horror-hurdle, telling Charlie Rose, “There has been no evidence that I used chemical weapons against my own people.”
And Rose also told The Guardian: “He (Assad) had a message to the American people that it had not been a good experience for them to get involved in the Middle East in wars and conflicts … that the results had not been good.”
Indeed, the murderous asshole does have a point in all that bullshit.
And Obama apparently has a point to make, too.
White House Chief-of-Staff Denis McDonough made the TV rounds this morning to crush-home that point, declaring the US Congress and the American people should view this strike at Assad through a prism of sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.
Shit you say:
“The common-sense test says he is responsible for this. He should be held to account,” McDonough said of the Syrian leader who for two years has resisted calls from inside and outside his country to step down.
Asked in another interview about doubt, McDonough was direct: “No question in my mind.”
But McDonough conceded the United States doesn’t have concrete evidence Assad was behind the chemical attacks.
Recent opinion surveys show intense American skepticism about military intervention in Syria, even among those who believe Syria’s government used chemical weapons on its people.
Congress, perhaps, is even more dubious.
“It’s an uphill slog,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who supports strikes on Assad.
“I think it’s very clear he’s lost support in the last week,” Rogers added, speaking of the president.
But while the public discussion lacks a direct link between Assad and weapons, the private briefs are no better, two lawmakers said.
“The evidence is not as strong as the public statements that the president and the administration have been making,” said Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich.
“There are some things that are being embellished in the public statements. … The briefings have actually made me more skeptical about the situation.”
Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., said “they have evidence showing the regime has probably the responsibility for the attacks.”
But that’s not enough to start military strikes.
“They haven’t linked it directly to Assad, in my estimation,” said McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
And a common-sense person would do what?
One view came via Aljazeera:
Simply put, the entire process by which the president has tried to steer the US towards a bombing campaign reveals such a shocking display of political and diplomatic incompetence — one of the greatest in US history — that he couldn’t have done more to aid the Assad regime if he tried.
Unable even to conceive over three years of actually using the full weight of the UN for the purposes it was intended — to stop war — or to lay a proper groundwork for the use of force against Syria when it inevitably crossed the “red line” of large-scale chemical weapon use, the Obama administration, which clearly hasn’t wanted any part of military action in Syria, has allowed itself to get behind a ridiculous plan of action that is allowing the likes of Assad’s son and Russian President Putin to taunt him like a schoolyard bully when no teachers are in sight.
The mess extends in several directions.
The first is the lack of willingness of the White House to make amends for the chemical weapons-based lies it deployed a decade ago to justify the invasion of Iraq, let alone its own large-scale use of weapons such as White Phosphorus and depleted uranium, the direct support provided to Saddam Hussein for his use of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War — or the even more colossal impact of Washington’s use of Agent Orange and napalm in Vietnam.
CW is not just a nefarious foreign object — the US stinks of it.
Firedoglake had a couple of good posts up today, both on war and CW. The first is found here and is a history of US CW cover-up starting back with the Japanese and WWII — compelling, and history-staining shit.
And the second (found here) is by David Swanson, author of “War Is A Lie,” and details how the US makes wars and lies.
The United States sought out war with Mexico, not the reverse.
There was never any evidence that Spain sank the Maine.
The Philippines didn’t benefit from U.S. occupation.
The Lusitania was known to be carrying troops and arms.
The Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened.
Iraq didn’t take any babies out of incubators.
The Taliban was willing to turn bin Laden over to be tried in a neutral court.
Libya wasn’t about to kill everyone in Benghazi.
Even wars that people like to imagine as justified, such as World War II, were nonetheless packaged in lies; FDR’s tales about the Greer and the Kearney and supposed secret Nazi maps and plans were a step on the steady trajectory from Woodrow Wilson to Karl Rove.
The beneficiaries of a U.S. attack on Syria will be war profiteers, their political servants, media outlets that gain higher ratings, and a gang increasingly dominated by al Qaeda-affiliated groups that is seeking power in Syria through the use of vicious violence that is illegal in its entirety.
War makers do not have noble motives.
And hard to fathom, Obama as winner of a Nobel Peace Prize — inspires ironic incongruousness.