They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Syria: A Murky reason for War

U.S. naval forces are moving closer to Syria as President Barack Obama considers military options for responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad government. Link
Without specialist knowledge it's impossible to judge from videos released by the opposition if the appalling suffering in Ghouta was in fact caused by chemical WMD. Whilst it's apparent that some experts have their doubts, others are more or less convinced.
There are three questions - were chemical weapons deployed on a  large scale as claimed?  Was Assad's government responsible/another party? What can 'we' do about it without throwing petrol on Middle East flames and aligning 'ourselves' with war criminals, liars and thugs - not to mention you know who. That is not to say the Syrian government is any better - but nobody is speculating that we fight a war to support the Syrian government.
'Rest assured, if Al Qaeda or its affiliates get their hands on WMD they wont hesitate to use them'. Was it Blair who said that? Bush?  Probably both ...on the same day. Is it possible that for once they were right? 
Consequences of crossing 'red line' (Chemical attack) for Bashar al-Assad:
Possible loss of remaining international support
Possible loss of some domestic support
War crimes charges
Further UN sanctions
NATO military action or 'coalition of willing' action
Probable downfall
Consequences of Chemical attack for opposition:
Immediate end to western caution re weapons supply
NATO military action or more likely
'coalition of the willing' (France leading?  No, probably not this time)

As we know, the UN inspectors are based just a few Kilometers from the site of the attack - it couldn't be more convenient for them. There was no pressing military need for Assad to deploy chemical weapons - let alone target civilians.