Secretary of State John Kerry waxed eloquent about the need to punish national leaders who violate international law. He meant Syria’s Bashar al-Assad but his lecture could have applied to American officials who enabled the invasion of Iraq, including himself, just one of many U.S. hypocrisies, as Lawrence Davidson notes.
Exclusive: Forgetting lessons from the Tonkin Gulf to the Iraq War, the U.S. news media has mostly elbowed past doubts about whether the Syrian government launched the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack and now is focused on the political drama of congressional approval for war, a big mistake says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
By seeking congressional approval before bombing Syria, President Obama may have recognized a political reality – the danger from pressing ahead unilaterally on a risky mission – but the move also offers a valuable breather in the hasty rush to war, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
With President Obama asking Congress to back a military strike to punish Syria for alleged chemical weapons use, the U.S. is lurching toward a new war. Beyond doubts about what happened and whether a U.S. missile attack will help, there is scant public understanding of the Syrian conflict, notes Mideast expert William R. Polk.
Exclusive: President Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval before attacking Syria may represent a needed breather, slowing Official Washington’s stampede into another war, but the only way to stop the bloodshed is to get the various sides into peace talks – and it is the U.S.-supported rebels who won’t go, notes Robert Parry.
The Obama administration’s emotional reaction to the alleged chemical attack in Syria may be understandable given the human toll, but the high-level clamor for action put pressure on intelligence analysts assessing the evidence. It also could have distorted their judgments, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
The Obama administration appears blind to the history that when U.S. officials have lashed out in anger at Middle East adversaries, the consequences have usually been bad and bloody. The Iraq War is an obvious cautionary tale but so too is Ronald Reagan’s shelling of Lebanon in 1983, as Ann Wright recalls.
Not only has the Obama administration presented no hard evidence to support its charge that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, President Obama’s plan to retaliate with cruise missiles in violation of international law suggests a Mideast strategy in disarray, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.
Exclusive: President George W. Bush misled the world on Iraq’s WMD, but Bush’s bogus case for war at least had details that could be checked, unlike what the Obama administration released Friday on Syria’s alleged chemical attacks – no direct quotes, no photographic evidence, no named sources, nothing but “trust us,” says Robert Parry.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, has spoken soberly about the dangers from any military strike on Syria, but press reports indicate President Obama is still set on launching cruise missiles in the coming days, an action that former U.S. intelligence professionals say should prompt Dempsey’s resignation.