Obama must strike now

Friday, 30 August, 2013

The spineless stance of the 285 British MPs who hid behind the tainted skirts of the UN last night does not change reality. To let the Syrian tyrant go unpunished now would assure him, and like-minded barbarians, that the proliferation and use of chemical weapons will be tolerated. And that cannot be. If the UK is unwilling to uphold this prohibition, it is even more important that the US does. In the words of The Economist:

The Economist “Because doing nothing carries risks that are even bigger. If the West tolerates such a blatant war crime, Mr Assad will feel even freer to use chemical weapons. He had after all stepped across Mr Obama’s ‘red line’ several times by using these weapons on a smaller scale — and found that Mr Obama and his allies blinked. An American threat, especially over WMD, must count for something: it is hard to see how Mr Obama can eat his words without the superpower losing credibility with the likes of Iran and North Korea.”

Obama must now proceed with a “punishment of such severity that Mr Assad is deterred from ever using WMD again. Hitting the chemical stockpiles themselves runs the risk both of poisoning more civilians and of the chemicals falling into the wrong hands. Far better for a week of missiles to rain down on the dictator’s ‘command-and-control’ centres, including his palaces. By doing this, Mr Obama would certainly help the rebels, though probably not enough to overturn the regime. With luck, well-calibrated strikes might scare Mr Assad towards the negotiating table.”

It’s time to hit Assad. Hard. Otherwise we can abandon civilization to the wolves. In his third year of wavering, two years after stating Assad had to go, one year after drawing — then redrawing — that red line, Barack Obama must act. Alone, if necessary.

Comments (6)

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  1. Kevin says:

    The Reagan administration aided and abetted Saddam’s chemical warfare.

    Surely the agents of that policy – eg Rumsfeld – must be held accountable – otherwise we have abandoned civilization to the wolves?

    Such amoral barbarism by Rumsfeld et al for which there is now ample documentation must be punished transparently and without mercy for us to have a credible position now – I’m sure you agree.

  2. Henry Barth says:

    Kevin: The war in question then was 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Whatever was sold was sold in that context.

    A little internet research shows you that the item you reference from the Daily Mail is practically ancient and dates to December 30, 2002. The DM took it from the Washington Post:


    The WP based the story on an earlier USA Today article in September 2002:

    USA Today
    “U.S. supplied the kinds of germs Iraq later used for biological weapons”
    Date: 30 September 2002.

    Now, thinking through these revelations I can only wonder whether Saddam did in fact have WMD despite what Hans Blix and the crew at The Guardian said at the time.

    However: “After investigation following the invasion, the U.S. led Iraq Survey Group concluded that Iraq had ended its nuclear, chemical and biological programs in 1991 and had no active programs at the time of the invasion [20 March 2003,] but that they intended to resume production if the Iraq sanctions were lifted.”

    We know Saddam had no WMD when the Iraq war began a year after these stories (20 March 2003) appeared in the press.

    Perhaps the Americans sold them a bad batch of germs in 1980-88? Perhaps these stories were propaganda created to demonstrate that Saddam did have WMD?

    In war, the first casualty is truth.

    • Kevin says:


      You are correct re the origin of the Daily Mail story. The substance of its content was amplified by the Foreign Policy story last week that references CIA documents that detail the provision of information to Saddam that facilitated chemical warfare attacks on Iran.

      The key issue is that Donald Rumsfeld was an enabler of chemical warfare by Iraq on a much greater scale than we have seen in Syria.

      To have any credibility re Syria, we need to hold Rumsfeld et al transparently accountable for their actions re Iraq in the 80’s. There is no logical moral basis for evasion of this obligation. That would provide a compelling message to the world.

  3. Nikolina says:

    When the United Nations was formed, it was supposed to prevent what is going on today. Needless to say, they have failed so miserably that there is no good reason to keep the institution alive. It should be closed and the building be converted to condos.The UN knows only one thing: How to best help the Arabs destroy Israel. The previous secretary general was an anti-semite son of a itch and loathed Israel. The current Korean seems to be taking the low ground as well.Currently, Obama has more than enough on his plate because the Republicans are playing their games again. In TEN DAYS, the clock will tick over to a shut off of Social Security checks, Medicare and Medicaid and tens of millions of us will not be able to receive our money back (it is NOT an entitlement, we paid for our SS benefits) not be able to get healthcare, not be able to buy food, and not be able to buy the medicines we need.I am a heart and stroke patient; the drugs I take are what is keeping me alive, so y’all will only have to put up with me for another month or so before I die.The former president spent money as though he as a drunken sailor at a whorehouse; now the GOP wants to blame our current president.You fools who want to blame Obama are just that: Fools. He’s accomplished more in the 2.5 years he’s been president than just about any other president in history. So may I request that you get off his back and give him the respect and credit he deserves?