August 29, 2013
Some of his commentors ask a perfectly logical question. 'Who gassed the civilians?' It is widely assumed that Assad did it and indeed he may have. His motivation for doing it on the anniversary of the 'Red Line Speech' would be to show himself to be powerful enough to stand up to the US and gaining the 'badass cred' so important in that part of the world.
However, Al-Quaeda has a more straightforward motivation. They want Assad bombed and his airforce neutralized. We know from painful experience in Iraq that Al-Quaeda is quite capable of using Sarin gas shells to kill (Iraqi nerve gas shells were used as ICWDs). We know that the rebels have overrun some Syrian arms caches. The attack, while horrific was rather small considering the risk. It was not a tide turning attack but an attack on a small group of noncombatants..mostly women and children. This is unlikely to hurt the rebels materially and can only serve to strengthen their resolve and gain them international support. It also could bring about an attack on the Assad regime by the US....which seems to be happening.
The circumstances of the attack are unclear, but it appears to have been confined to a small area in a refugee camp. This is the sort of gas attack the rebels might be able to pull off.
I dunno who did it, but such ambiguity might be used by the President to not end up being Al-Quaeda's air-force in Syria.
Have at it in the comments.
August 28, 2013
August 24, 2013
Given that Syria decided to nerve gas a town on the one year anniversary of the President's 'RED LINE' speech this may be the least bad option.
I don't believe that proportional responses are generally advisable or ethical. If one must use violence one should, as a rule, use overwhelming force. Such a policy is more likely to have a deterrent effect and save more lives in the long run (either through quick victory or deterring violence in the first place) than a predictable escalation of response which can be planned for and factored into cost benefit analysis by bad actors.
However, an overwhelming response in the case of Syria might topple the government. This would ordinarily be a good thing, but give that the opposition forces are AlQuaeda and similar groups, such an outcome would result in wast quantities of weapons including nerve gas plus Syria's stock of radioactives to fall into the hands of a bunch of feral crazies who dearly want to kill us and our Israeli allies.
So a painful but not crippling attack may be the least terrible option.
Of course, this supposes that the President, in his zeal to thwart the execrable Assad regime has not allowed himself to become blinded to the threat posed by its collapse, and doesn't actually intend to bring it down...which as we have discussed before would probably make things even worse.
August 11, 2013
A Postal Service mail sorting facility at New York's JFK International Airport has been quarantined today after a suspicious package tested positive for VX nerve gas.
Two Customs agents were sicked Sunday morning after inhaling the strange odor coming from the package, which unconfirmed reports indicate was shipped to the United States from China.
That from this Daily Mail article. I'm quite doubtful the Chicoms are sending us nerve gas. If it IS a terror attack it could just as easily been sent from LA or Savannah.
UPDATE: Now they're saying it was beauty supplies.
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