It’s strange how quiet the Left seems to be as we rush, without Congressional approval, toward military action against Syria. (Not everyone on the Left, mind: I find myself agreeing with, of all people, Dennis Kucinich on this one.)
The Long War Journal‘s blog, Threat Matrix, asks some pertinent questions, here. Among them:
3. Is there a possibility that the Aug. 21 attack was an accidental hit — of chemical stocks belonging to either the regime or the rebels — by the undisputed massive regime bombardment in the area at the time? It is known that the regime has been frequently moving its chemical weapons to keep them out of rebel hands, and it is also known that rebel fighters, including al Qaeda-linked groups, have sought and reportedly had access to chemical weapons. The Al Nusrah Front is known to have pursued chemical weapons; credible reports of the group plotting to conduct sarin and mustard gas attacks have emerged from Iraq and Turkey over the past several months.
Sharpest of all are questions 5 and 6:
5. Is there a way to rule out the possibility, given the timing of the Aug. 21 attack, that it could have been perpetrated by rebel groups seeking to draw the US into a military intervention against the Assad regime?
6. The regime has much to lose by mounting chemical weapon attacks, and especially while UN inspectors are in country and the world’s eyes are turned toward Syria. Why now? Is the basic vagueness of the US’s accusation due to a Western decision that now is the time to intervene militarily, regardless of who perpetrated the attack, since there is clearly a very distinct danger of the spread of chemical warfare in the region at this point?
I’ve wondered all along about this: why would Assad, who already outguns the rebels, risk triggering exactly the punitive response he seems about to receive?
In an essay published earlier today, Victor Davis Hanson remarked:
We are now in a surreal landscape in which the Left urges action on suspicion of WMD use, citing the humanitarian issues involved, the larger concerns of the civilized world, and U.S. strategic interests. U.N. weapon inspectors are not allowed in. There is good evidence that Assad is lying about his use of WMD or at least trying to mislead in some fashion not altogether discernible. Where are Joe Wilson, Hans Blix, and Mohamed ElBaradei when we need them?
Where the Syrian WMD came from or where they are stored is still a mystery, given that we were assured long ago by opponents of the Iraq War that Saddam did not pose a threat and thus his WMD stockpiles, if they ever existed, did not go to Syria on the eve of that war.
Yep, it’s ten years on, and everybody’s just switched jerseys. Big wheel keep on turnin’, Mideast keep on burnin’.
Meanwhile, Turkish correspondent Ilhan Tanir just tweeted:
I am talking to a friend in Aleppo now. He says, everybody expect US to hit ISIS (Al Qaida linked group) as well Assad targets. Interesting.
“Interesting”, indeed! Attacking both sides, I have to admit, does have a certain appeal. (Obliterating both sides, much more so.) But of course, each side is already working hard to obliterate the other, without our lifting a finger, so why not just let them take care of it themselves? (Do keep in mind that those Tomahawk missiles can cost upwards of a million taxpayer bucks a pop. That kind of money could buy a lot of condoms, folks.)
Perhaps the idea is to kill everybody but those Islamic “moderates” we’re always hearing about, so that they can repopulate and pacify the region. I suppose it’s something like the idea that everything presently existing in the Universe is just the tiny, asymmetrical residue that was left over after all the matter and antimatter annihilated each other right after the Big Bang.
So what the hell, it’s worth a try, I guess. Anyway, with such enlightened statesmen at the helm, what could go wrong?