I’ve noticed something odd in the administration’s arguments for attacking Syria. They emphasize that chemical weapons were used, but on the crucial dispute over “who did it”, they offer almost nothing beyond mere assertions. (One example here.) It’s almost as if the administration has not wanted people to stop and think about Syria.
I am still keeping an open mind, that the administration’s version of events in Syria could be true. But, for sake of argument, here are some articles giving reason to question it:
- “The case [that…] Kerry laid out last Friday contained claims that were disputed by the United Nations, inconsistent…with British and French intelligence reports or lacking sufficient transparency for international chemical weapons experts to accept at face value.” Among several problems, Kerry exaggerated the number of victims, claiming 1429 when estimates from France, Britain and the Syrian opposition are 281-500 victims.
- The administration makes much of “an intercept of Syrian military officials discussing” one chemical strike, but the officials in question were low-level (possible rogue commander, not tied to Assad).
- Some Syrian locals say that Saudi-supplied rebels were behind the attacks.
- And earlier reports say the rebels could have stolen Assad’s chemical weapons and that, from whatever the source, rebels used chemical weapons earlier this year.
- The Obama administration makes much of Syria’s alleged delay in letting U.N. inspectors probe the attacks. But the administration has also tried to block such a probe. What gives?
It may be worth considering “who benefits” from Obama attacking Syria. Reports say that Saudi Arabia backs the rebels (although I am not sure why they do, unless it’s part of their complicated dance with Russia over the future of OPEC and world energy). Wouldn’t it be ironic, if the Obama administration is acting at the Saudis’ behest?
But I must admit that Obama has finally done something right, in seeking Congress’ authorization to attack Syria.
I think it would be a great mistake for Congress, and especially for the GOP, to authorize in haste – before the many serious, open questions about Syria have been answered to the public’s satisfaction. I do not agree with Speaker Boehner, yet, on supporting a U.S. attack on Syria.
FROM THE COMMENTS: mixitup reminds us that, actually, Obama himself benefits from his attacking Syria. How? “Benghazi, IRS scandal, NSA scandal, gun running scandal [ed: Fast And Furious], unemployment, sad economy…are off the front pages…”
UPDATE: Michael Synder (the Economic Collapse Blog) suggests that the Syrian crisis could really be about which powers get to build pipelines where, to sell whose natural gas to Europe.
I rejected “pipeline thinking” in debates over the wars of a decade ago (Afghanistan, Iraq) – because U.S. security interests were a good-enough explanation for those wars. Again, Syria in 2013 is different. With U.S., NATO, Israeli and even Saudi security *not* obviously at stake in Syria, one may as well start wondering about other explanations for the crisis.