Foreign and Defense Policy, Middle East and North Africa

Chemical attack in Syria? Whatever

Image Credit: REUTERS

Image Credit: REUTERS

Yesterday evening, Josh Rogin over at FP’s The Cable dropped a bombshell of a story: The Assad government, US government investigators have concluded, likely used chemical weapons in Homs on December 23, 2012. Josh has the entire tick-tock of the reports, the investigation, purported videos of the attack (“videos, which are graphic, can be found here, here, here, here, here and here”), reax from State and observations about the Obama administration’s shifting red lines on Assad’s use of WMD. Remember, in August of last year, when the president cared what people thought, it was the mere “moving around” of chemical weapons that he threatened would trigger US action. But after the election, when, apparently, he did not, the red line was “use” of chemical weapons. Now, according to State Department spox Patrick Ventrell, Assad will merely be “held accountable.” Evolution!

Why are so few people talking about this? Why doesn’t Obama care? Simple: this is the new normal in foreign policy. Chemical attacks are just another day in the life of American retreat from the world. 80,000 deaths? Whatever. Al Qaeda on the march? Whatever. Priorities in Afghanistan? Whatever.

What will it mean? Exactly what has been foretold so many times: The Syrian people, like the Kurds who were gassed mercilessly by Saddam Hussein at Halabja while Ronald Reagan was president, will neither forgive nor forget America’s failure to stand with them. Then again, when you don’t want to do anything in the world, you don’t need people to like you, to trust you, or to fear you. America? Whatever.

5 thoughts on “Chemical attack in Syria? Whatever

      • No. I’m suggesting that the biggest cheerleaders for American “leadership” i.e., sending someone else’s kid 5000 miles away to shoot at some goatherders ought to watch their mouths.

        In the meantime, State confirmed there was no known use of chemical weapons in Syria. The is like Pletka’s other piece. “Chemical weapons might have been used” equals “Chuck Hagel might be a Jew hater.”

        We don’t know. I tell ya, we just don’t know…..

      • No. But the chickenhawk neoconservatives have been supportive of every military intervention that has taken place no matter how stupid it may be. It was those idiots who were telling Obama to support the French efforts in Libya and the arming of terrorists to oppose Gaddafi. It was those idiots who are now calling for intervention in Mali because the people who were given weapons in Libya have taken over the resource rich part of the country and are now threatening French interests there. It was those idiots who lied about WMDs in Iraq and want the longest war that the US has ever taken part in (Afghanistan) to keep going for many years longer.

        These people are a cancer that present a very real danger to the security of the united states. They are a far bigger threat to you than a bunch of morons hiding in caves in Pakistan who want you to leave them alone.

  1. Service or any other experience does not guarantee good policy. It usually serves to reinforce pre-existing modes. This is a value judgement. Either you think the US ought to stand up against use of CBRN on civilians or you think we ought to roll over and let tyrants have free reign. It doesn’t take sitting on a FOB for 15 mos or even in a firebase to make that call.

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