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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Will McClatchy Go Rogue Again, This Time Re: Syria Claims?

As I noted earlier today,  the U.S. media has largely taken claims of evidence of Assad's use of chemical agents in Syria pretty much in lock-step--just as they did in the run-up to the Iraq war. We're seeing it again with the White House's latest claims today, the crossing of the "red line" and the turning point to arm the rebels (and god knows what's next).   As I wrote last month, the one U.S. news outlet that has deeply questioned the claims about Syria is the same on that stood out for casting doubt on Iraq WMD claims so long ago: McClatchy.  And again, Jonathan Landay has been in the forefront there.  So: What now?

Well, they have their first major piece up tonight, not by Landay but by Lesley Clark.  It's pretty rote--and even quotes good old hawkish Michael O'Hanlon--until these two key grafs, which you won't find in other coverage so far:
[Deputy National Security Adviser Ben] Rhodes repeatedly referred to the Supreme Military Council as “the military option” on the ground – an exaggeration when in fact the council controls only a fraction of the rebel fighters. The most effective rebels – Islamist militants such as the Nusra Front – don’t heed the council’s directives. The council’s own leader, defected Gen. Salim Idriss, told McClatchy last month that it was difficult to unify the fighters and that his men suffered from a lack of ammunition and training.
Rhodes also said there would be stepped-up assistance to the Syrian Opposition Coalition, a fragmented, fragile and mostly toothless body that’s in such disarray that U.S. officials told McClatchy they were considering redirecting funds that had been allotted for it. For months, the coalition has been plagued by infighting and lack of leadership, leaving the Obama administration with no real civilian opposition partner.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/13/193903/us-says-syria-used-chemical-weapons.html#storylink=cpy

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