On Sunday and Monday, representatives of President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron claimed that it is “too late” to effectively examine the nature and source of the chemical weapons event near Damascus, Syria last Wednesday (August 21). (Image: Tim Green)
Are these coordinated, self-serving statements by those who want to attack Syrian government without regard to the source of the chemical weapons attack?
The “too late” statements came four and five days after the attack. The clear implication is that the limit for a chemical weapons investigation is four to five days after the event.
The first clue to believability of the “too late” claim comes from events in Damascus prior to the attack. On August 18, a team of United Nations chemical weapons inspectors arrived in the capital of Syria to investigate three past incidents that generated accusations of chemical weapons use.
In one of the incidents, the Syrian government claimed that Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels or their allies used chemical weapons at Khan-al-Assal, near Aleppo on March 19, 2013. The FSA blamed the attack on the Syrian government.
The chemical weapons attack took place four months ago, well past the “too late” timeline coming from the White House and 10 Downing Street. We must, therefore, believe one of two explanations of the UN investigation:
1) The Obama and Cameron governments knew that it was “too late” to determine if chemical weapons were used in Khan-al-Assal (March 19) and the two other past incidents but pushed for an investigation for some yet unknown reason, without regard to the possibility of valid findings.
2) It is not too late to investigate Khan-al-Assal and the other two incidents which took place months ago.
If explanation 2) is correct, then why is it “too late” to investigate the Damascus incident just a few days ago?
Chemical weapons leave residue in buildings long after an attack. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, a four level laboratory network and other analytic methods are just a part of the plan to determine the nature of a chemical attack. This isn’t a mandatory four to five day process. More to the point, even though they knew otherwise, U.S. officials blamed Iran for the March, 1988 chemical weapons attack on Kurds at Halabja, Iraq.
There is no rush to complete this investigation. There is no reason to say that an investigation cannot be conducted. As a result, there is no justification to attack Syria without a completed, transparent, publicly reviewed investigation.
If Obama and Cameron proceed with an attack on Syria they will share a place of shame with George W Bush and Tony Blair as liars of epic proportion and violators of the Nuremberg Principles (VI, a, i and ii).
They will also kill a lot of people and provide even more support to the FSA and it’s Al Qaeda allies who will do even more killing than they already have.
A rush to judgment is a rush to war.