Syria: Claims Without Evidence, Expanding Obama’s Mandate for War / NYT

Kerry persists today in making outsize claims that he fails to support.  My comments are in parentheses.

Secretary of State John Kerry, in his remarks before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged Congress to vote in favor of the president ordering a military strike and argued that “the risk of not acting is greater than the risk of acting…” [Really? Please explain why helping the side of al Qaeda and islamic mercenaries will reduce risk to the US.–Nass]

“We can tell you beyond any reasonable doubt that our evidence proves the Assad regime prepared for this attack, warned its forces to use gas masks,” Mr. Kerry said, referring to the government of President Bashar al-Assad. [Please provide the evidence, sir.–Nass]

“We have physical evidence of where the rockets came from and when,” he said. “Not one rocket landed in regime-controlled territory. All of them landed in opposition-controlled or contested territory. We have a map, physical evidence, showing every geographical point of impact — and that is concrete.” [But of course a false flag operation by rebel supporters would send its rockets to such targets.–Nass]

Mr. Kerry argued against any restrictions in the Congressional authorization, including whether ground forces would be prohibited. He emphasized that Mr. Obama had no intention to put “boots on the ground.” But he said that if Syria imploded and chemical weapons depots were at risk of being raided by militants, then ground troops might be required to secure those locations. He said such an action would most likely be undertaken with allies….  [So now we are saying no boots on the ground unless we change our mind…is this designed to ensure Congress will balk at an attack–or an attempt to gain carte blanche for the President to open up a new front in the so-called war on terror?–Nass]

Mr. Kerry warned that the turmoil in Syria, if not contained, might allow extremists to find haven in a country with chemical weapons. [Which, if you read my post below, could actually be the United States, which has failed to rid itself of all its chemical weapons by the agreed-upon 2012 deadline.] That nexus of chemical weapons depots and militant fighters tied to international terrorist organizations, he said, could threaten American allies that border Syria, American troops in the region and perhaps even United States territory…

Well, US chemical weapons (yes, sarin nerve gas) does threaten Americans at home–because US government stocks have been leaking on US soil, threatening soldiers and civilians!  As recently as last year, but also in 2007 and 2008 sarin escaped–repeatedly, at the same military base.  I guess we are really worried about the threat of sarin, except when it menaces our own bases and troops.  Why was there no commitment to properly house it — on the same army base where billions are being spent to create a “safe facility” to destroy chemical weapons?

Mr. Kerry has been the administration’s most ardent advocate of military action, while General Dempsey has written to Congress warning of the potential costs and likely risks of significant intervention… 

General Dempsey told Congress in April that he was not sure the United States “could identify the right people” to equip in the Syrian opposition. “It’s actually more confusing on the opposition side today than it was six months ago,” General Dempsey said.

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