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Monday, August 26, 2013

Party Like It's 2003

Monday Updates:    NYT with lengthy and chilling re-creation of the alleged chemical attack just posted tonight.

Eugene Robinson joins liberal hawks tonight in calling for strike on Assad at Wash Post. Admits history against it but gotta do it.  "Must be punished."

U.S. trying same trick as it successfully did in Iraq--telling UN to pull inspectors out because we may start bombing at any moment.  This ended inspections--which were finding no WMD--in Iraq, but so far UN holding firm.  But no specific U.S. warning of pending attack but could come any minute.

Kerry gives bellicose speech.  UN inspectors disagree that no good evidence left--they say they collected plenty today.  But administration view: "We don't need no stinkin' UN evidence."

Dexter Filkins joins liberal hawks in calling for attack in new piece at the New Yorker.  After recounting moving talk with journalist/witness to last week's bombing, he admits our attack now could make things worse (and no rebel leader to trust)--but have got to try.  David Frum at Twitter just outlined several good reasons to resist this impulse.  

My former congressman Eliot Engel begs Obama to bomb Syria--and says he does not even need to consult Congress, just do it.

NYT in lead story promotes attack by citing anonymous White House official and rebels both saying UN inspection worthless because evidence of chemical degraded by now--without going to any experts to judge if this is actually true.  The truth is that, yes, by some degrading--but far from too late.  Even McClatchy just gets quote from an expert on how long inspecting must take, not on the degrading aspect.

Good round-up of newspaper editorial pages calling for a strike on Syria from co-author of my U.S. vs. Private Manning book.

UPDATE:  Gotta love McClatchy, which like other news outlets today cites in opening graf of story that Obama now deeply considering strikes on Syria, but unlike others, adds in 2nd graf:  "But any strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime would occur over the misgivings of a majority of Americans, according to a new poll, and with only limited support from Congress. The fallout from such action includes likely retaliation from Iran, Russia and the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah – Assad’s three chief foreign patrons – and could draw the United States deeply into a new Middle East conflict after years of entanglement in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/08/25/200333/us-appears-to-weigh-military-response.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_term=news#storylink=cpy

Earlier: Repeat of Iraq 2003?  Syria today okays inspection of site of alleged chem attack by UN but U.S. racing to launch attack before inspectors can report?  Already were reports today from White House or military sources saying "too late."  And complaint that no firm date given.  Now (according to Richard Engel in a tweet) Syria says:  tomorrow.   So rockets may fly tonight.

Even some good people often critical of hasty moves have fallen into line on this--you know who you are.   We recall the self-proclaimed "liberal hawks" and (in Bill Keller's immortal phrase) "reluctant hawks" who backed Iraq invasion, to their and our shame.  You'll ID them now by their full cynicism about worth of UN inspections, "came to late," "won't have full access" etc.  Also references to Kosovo.  Maybe we'll attack before McClatchy has a chance for a few full reports.  Recall that UN inspectors were on ground in Iraq in 2003 and finding nothing (accurately) and we didn't care.

In the case of Syria, there is actually more seeming evidence, if no proof, simply because a top aid group said yesterday they'd treated 3000 with some sort of toxic symptoms, though from unknown cause and perps. But hey, let's rush to attack--after sitting by for months--without on-the-ground proof.  

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