Wednesday, July 25, 2012

War Drums Beating...

From an NPR story yesterday...

We begin this hour with fears of escalation in Syria. The country is believed to maintain a stockpile of chemical weapons and this week, the Syrian regime threatened to use them in the event of a foreign attack. That threat got the attention of the United States. President Obama had a message for Syria's president.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Given the regime's stockpiles of chemical weapons, we will continue to make it clear to Assad and those around him that the world is watching and that they will be held accountable by the international community and the United States, should they make the tragic mistake of using those weapons.
CommentarE.:  We know how reliable "Intelligence's" information about WMDs has been in the past, now don't we?
TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: One official, after being briefed on Syria's chemical weapons program, says he's deathly afraid, afraid because of the scale of the program and the lack of any good options to deal with it. Syria is thought to have dozens of manufacturing and storage sites for chemicals which can be loaded into hundreds of missiles or artillery shells.
CHARLES BLAIR: It's believed that they have a hundred to thousands of tons of different types of chemical agents.
BOWMAN: That's Charles Blair with the Federation of American Scientists. He studied those Syrian weapons. He says the arsenal includes mustard agent, the type used during World War I that can create blisters in the lungs. More troubling, he says, is the Syrians are believed to have two types of nerve agent, Sarin and VX.
CommentarE.:   Who exactly "briefed" Mr. Blair on Syria's Chemical Weapons programs? How exactly did Mr. Blair study those Syrian weapons from a think tank?   "A hundred to thousands of tons" is a mighty wide range to not worry about or catastrophize about don't you think?  Must have been some briefing fella.  Along with a number of liberal funders to the Scientists' organization is one that stood out when I looked them up:  The FBI, our FBI, our government, by gosh by golly.  What a cowinkidink!
The numbers are based on intelligence reports. Such reports can be sketchy. Michael Eisenstadt is with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He says that U.S. intelligence has gotten it wrong before.
MICHAEL EISENSTADT: We have to look back at our experience in dealing with Iraq and Libya where repeatedly our intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction had been inaccurate in some very important ways.
BOWMAN: Eisenstadt says the U.S. overestimated the size of Libya's chemical weapons program and only learned the truth when Gadhafi fell from power.
EISENSTADT: We should probably be very careful and modest about what we think we know about Syria's program.
BOWMAN: Still, even if it's not clear how many chemical weapons Syria has, most government and private reports conclude that Syria has something.
EISENSTADT: To the best of our knowledge, they do have chemical weapon production facilities that they've been acquiring precursors from abroad and that there is some kind of capability.
CommentarE.: Hark, there is a voice of reason in this story.  (His organization is seeking a "balanced and realistic understanding" of all things over there.)
BOWMAN: Just in case, the Pentagon is looking at options for seizing or destroying Syria's chemical arsenal should the regime fall or terrorists threaten to grab those weapons. Military officials say there are two options, put troops on the ground to secure the sites or bomb them. The troop option is not easy. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of troops would be needed, says those who have been briefed by the Pentagon.
And the bombing option carries particular risks, says Charles Blair of the Federation of American Scientists. By trying to destroy the chemical weapons, he says, you may end up releasing a deadly cloud.
BLAIR: And what you would have is you would actually be spreading the agent itself out into the atmosphere.
BOWMAN: That's why one official said when it comes to Syria's chemical weapons, there are no good options. 
Tom Bowman, NPR News, Washington.   Back to you Eclect...
CommentarE.:  We want the regime to fall.  The U.S. has declared that and certainly we are supporting that end in many told and untold ways.  So there's this agonizing choice of the only two options the Pentegon thinks possible:  Troops on ground or destroy alleged weapons by bombing.  But that could lead to "releasing a deadly cloud."  

Brilliant military thinking isn't it? Two options.  Right. 

We'll have troops on the ground. 

Welcome to another war. Then Obama can run on being a real war president because it started on his watch.  No sloppy seconds for him.  Then there is Iran...

Learn to play the Pipes of Peace:

 Paul McCarntney, from 1983. 
MP3 File

Update:  Apologies about how this post looks.  Google Blogger can be pretty F'd up sometimes.  This is an example.

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