Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

Friday, August 23, 2013

Syria (Courtesy of FRONTLINE)

Karen DeYoung, senior National Security correspondent and associate editor of The Washington Post, discusses the latest claims of a deadly chemical attack on activists in Syria, and whether or not it constitutes a "red line" that could force action on the part of the U.S.


Karen DeYoung

Comments [33]

Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

> Amy from Manhattan

> Edward, that was 1988. By the time the US attacked Iraq after 9/11, which is what they were talking about in this segment, months of inspections had found no chemical weapons there, & the troops who invaded didn't find any after the fact.

The Saddam Hussein post 9/11 was the SAME Saddam of 1988. You believe Saddam because he said he didn't have WMDs anymore?

Who but a progressive person would take the word of someone who used chemical weapons in the past.

1988 is also the year that Pan Am 103 was bombed, killing 270 people.

Aug. 23 2013 11:47 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

It should also be noted what sort of geostrategic interests are at stake in this struggle.

It's not just "freedom" for oppressed Syrians. It's an overland gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe. Assad refused to allow it because it would undercut Gazprom's strangle hold on Europe's nat gas supply. The Saudi's begged the Russian's to give up Syria in exchange for a huge arms deal (reported early August) worth 20 Billion:

Russia refused. A couple of weeks later there is a chemical weapons attack that justifies NATO intervention... LOL

Aug. 23 2013 11:25 AM
Amy from Manhattan

NYCitizen, it's not as pervasive as you say. Early in the Egyptian uprising, there were Muslims who encircled Coptic churches to protect them from the extremist Muslims who were attacking them. I've been wondering where they are now, in the more recent attacks; maybe they haven't been able to stay in the areas where that's happening, or maybe the extremists are too well armed now.

Aug. 23 2013 11:23 AM

So far, Brian has ignored the vast RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE pervasive among Muslims - attacks on Christians (60 churches burned in Egypt + 200k dead in Darfur), attacks on Jews (60 years of attempted genocide), attacks on the Baha-a in Iran, attacks on non-believers and heretics, and now attacks between Sunnis and Shiites.

Why does NYC ignore the big story on the Muslim: the vast war of RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and parts of Africa are all the SAME WAR. Islamic intolerance is the single most deadly force in the world.

Aug. 23 2013 11:04 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Edward, that was 1988. By the time the US attacked Iraq after 9/11, which is what they were talking about in this segment, months of inspections had found no chemical weapons there, & the troops who invaded didn't find any after the fact.

Aug. 23 2013 11:00 AM
rose-ellen from jackson heights

Unabashed anti- Arab racism is now not only acceptable but is the norm. Shame on you Brian Lehrer.

Aug. 23 2013 10:58 AM
bernie from bklyn

@ Mr.Bad- you got it right, IMO....that's exactly what's happening!

Aug. 23 2013 10:48 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

It will be more interesting to see what happens if the UN inspectors determine it was the FSA or FSA allied forces who conducted a false flag attack. What then? Do we stop supporting the FSA or aid Assad instead?

Not likely. And the fact that this highly probable outcome has not even been discussed openly makes me think this is a set up. It's been widely reported that FSA forces have access to chemical weapons, they aren't hard to come by.

We are at the end game in Syria and the Obama administration knows it, the military situation is deteriorating for the FSA rapidly in the face of Assad's continued offensives. If Assad wins so does Iran, Russia and Hezbollah... Obama's legacy would be to have "lost" Egypt and Syria permanently. Pressure is on.

Aug. 23 2013 10:45 AM
Yehia Ellis from Brooklyn,New York

i am 12 years old and attend mark twain intermediate school and am a proud Moroccan Muslim. i have many contradictions with what was said during the show one caller said that the us wasted blood and money to the arab world saving them from their inhumanity and made a comment about muslims! The arab world is not made up of just muslims, it also contains jews as well as christians! secondly is the arab world really being inhumane or acting as americans were when they were revolting from england and im pretty sure the american revoulution was far from "humane" what with all the scalps and burnings and killings of civilians as is happening in the arab world! (except for the scalps) Lastly i would just like to point out that i do not believe i remember the arab world asking for help, and with the monetary state our country is in i doubt the obama administration sent the us army out of the goodness of their hearts! So i must conclude that the obama administration has its own agenda!!!

Aug. 23 2013 10:45 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

> Nick from UWS

> We have to wonder and start a discussion about the character and psychology of our completely volunteer military

You must be alluding to Chelsea Manning.

Aug. 23 2013 10:36 AM
bernie from bklyn

@RJ Prospect Hts- well, that's the point....we interfered so much in the past and it has to stop. just because we did stupid things before doesn't mean we don't have the ability to change course, right?
and comparing christian misdeeds in the crusades to the current islamist zealotry is absurd, c'mon...and how were christians responsible for the holocaust? it was a swastika, not a cross.
personally, i don't care about anyone's religious views but i do care about our young people losing their lives for NOTHING- the political whims of our leaders and those who's religious absolutism causes murder and mayhem. the time for isolationism is NOW.

Aug. 23 2013 10:34 AM

When a pressure cooker qualifies as WMD, could these deadly gases just be a case of severe flatulence?

Aug. 23 2013 10:33 AM
Nick from UWS

We have to wonder and start a discussion about the character and psychology of our completely volunteer military...who are these people that volunteer to unquestioningly kill strangers in places of which they have zero understanding? Our armed forces are mercenaries from one end to the other.

Aug. 23 2013 10:33 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

The UN should schedule a series of committees to decide when to send in UN observers to determine what happened in Syria.

That shouldn't take long. ;-0

Aug. 23 2013 10:31 AM

We can't do anything even if we wanted to. Thanks to george w bush shoving us into two wars-of-choice, we have nothing to fight with. No money, no manpower, hell, we don't even command respect. Send the bush-boy over there. Maybe they'll all laugh their asses off at his idiocy and wind up all being friends.

Aug. 23 2013 10:29 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

First of all, I don't think US intervention is the solution to all problems, but that does not mean that occasional interventions are not justified. Clearly when genocide is in progress, there is a right under modern international law to do so when the UN backs it. We went into Korea with UN Security Council backing in 1950. Vietnam was different. The first Iraq war was a coalition to push Saddam out of Kuwait. The second war to oust Saddam was more questionable, but not illegal as Saddam was violating ceasefire agreements and UN inspectors. The UN has not authorized military action against Assad, so a direct intervention is legally questionable.

But a for the cost of the Afghan and Iraqi wars, in terms of human losses, it was relatively light compared to previous wars: 5,000 versus 58,000 in Vietnam and 38,000 in Korea. However, the monetary cost was very high. Obviously the loss of a single life is regrettable, but one should not exaggerate the human cost of Middle East wars to the US either. Most of the destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq was not due to US firepower, but due to internal terrorism.

Aug. 23 2013 10:28 AM
J. D. Crutchfield from Long Island City

The caller who said "There are Muslims who are wonderful, but Arabs will fight to the last American to stay in power," needs to be called out for expressing a racist view. It's disgraceful that he wasn't challenged.

Aug. 23 2013 10:28 AM
Amy from Manhattan

The 1st caller said it should be up to the UN, but Russia will veto any decision to intervene. Is there another organization that could take action? (What action is another question, which I won't go into.)

Aug. 23 2013 10:27 AM
Nick from UWS

You wanna end US involvement in these endless Middle East squabbles? American young people have to stop being stupid and volunteering to enter the completely corrupt US military and do something more constructive with their lives, in this their home country. As far as I'm aware, there is no draft in this country forcing anybody to do anything.

Aug. 23 2013 10:27 AM
RJ from Prospect Hts.

This "red line" is absurd--mass murder is mass murder no matter the means. How quickly the US forgets: We shouldn't have any responsibility for the rest of the world--except for how we overthrew governments throughout the 20th century from regimes unsupportive of capitalism to totalitarian ones--Pinochet, the Shah--and kept others, like Mubarak, in power. Suddenly we have no responsibility. Short memories--perhaps if we do save money by not helping the revolutions in other countries we can emphasize a true teaching of the US role in the world in history.

Oh, and about those "Muslims": What is "Islamism" or "Islamist"? Do we fault "Christians" because of the Crusades, or because of the Holocaust? Is it impossible that people have genuine, horrifying complaints (see above) against the US and other Western nations, use the general precepts of religion (like the violent terms in the New and Old Testaments) to organize so-called religious revolutions?

Aug. 23 2013 10:26 AM
Jude the Obscure from Washington Heights

I am confused at the time that is being taken to prove/disprove chemical weapons in Syria. We have to remove our parental attitude which includes killing both the bullies and our children who we throw into the fray for its moral right.
We cannot continue to place ourselves in the position of hangman/protector. I believe they need to solve this problem themselves. Perhaps the behavior of enabling this never ending story serves to continue it.

Aug. 23 2013 10:22 AM
The Truth from Becky

George Bush spent 879 days at his Crawford ranch, held press conferences and met with 18 world leaders at the ranch martin, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

We cannot cure what ails this part of the world, Americans are not respected in this part of the world, investigate thoroughly before American intervention.

Aug. 23 2013 10:21 AM
carolita from nyc

I don't want the United States getting involved in any more wars. We've got enough wars on our plate.

Aug. 23 2013 10:18 AM
dba from NYC

Chemical weapons are of course horrific. However, apparently thousands upon thousands of civilians have already been slaughtered by Assad over the past two years with virtually only perfunctory calls for intervention. So why the outrage now? What difference does it make whether they were massacred by conventional or chemical means?

Aug. 23 2013 10:16 AM
bernie from bklyn

yay! another war based on extremely weak evidence! shock n' awe, U- S- A!!!!!!!!!

Aug. 23 2013 10:10 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

I'm very anti-Assad but this is very troubling, mostly because it doesn't make any sense strategically. The rebels are losing the war, if Aleppo falls to Assad it will just be a mopping up operation for Assad.

Obama pledged, months ago, that a "red line" for US intervention would be the use of Chemical weapons.

So Assad, despite the fact he is winning with conventional forces, decides to use chemical weapons against civilians knowing it will meet the specific requirement, openly stated long ago, that would draw US forces into the conflict? When Assad is winning?

Aug. 23 2013 10:10 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Saddam Husseins Iraq had no WMDs?

Tell that to the Kurds of Halabja Iraq.

"The Halabja poison gas attack (Kurdish: کیمیابارانی ھەڵەبجە Kîmyabarana Helebce), also known as Halabja massacre or Bloody Friday,[1] was a genocidal massacre against the Kurdish people that took place on March 16, 1988, during the closing days of the Iran–Iraq War, when chemical weapons were used by the Iraqi government forces in the Kurdish town of Halabja in Southern Kurdistan."

Aug. 23 2013 10:10 AM
Salvatore Principato from Manhattan

Good job Brian
You sitting in your air conditioned office
During your introduction
More than assumed it was the internationally recognized Syrian government
That used chemical weapons
When as the interviewee stated it could be some of the cannibles in the so called opposition
That did it to provoke niaive and self righteous westerners to intervene

Question Brian
If it turns out the insurgency were the one's who used the chemical weapons
What should the U.S. do?

Aug. 23 2013 10:10 AM

the US should immediately act on any allegation!

Aug. 23 2013 10:07 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

BEFORE the UN and the US do anything at all about the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, we need to get people in there to investigate. We already went through this with Iraq and it was proven that they had no WMDs and we'd started a war there for no reason. We cannot do that again.

On the other hand, if it is found that the Syrian government is using chemical weapons, we need to go in there and stomp on them. When a select group of human beings attempts to annihilate another select group of human beings, then it is time for the referee to step in and stop the game.

There is a bold line to be drawn between unjustly attacking a sovereign nation and permitting another Holocaust to occur, but no rational decision can be made without getting the facts first.

Aug. 23 2013 10:06 AM
Scott from Brooklyn

I heard a reporter interview a Syrian Doctor yesterday how said it was Sarin that was used and that the doctors were suffering from 2nd hand exposure. I heard a scientist weeks ago say that Sarin breaks down very quickly and leaves no residue. It makes me doubt many things about the story. Please confirm the profile of Sarin gas.

Aug. 23 2013 10:04 AM
john from office

I thought Putin was a human rights champion?? According to the pro-Snowden crowd??

Aug. 23 2013 10:02 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


"UN Ambassador Samantha Power was on a personal trip when she missed this week’s emergency Security Council meeting on the use of chemical weapons in Syria."

LOL, she has apparently already adapted her work habits to fit in with her boss, our "workaholic" President Barry (300 days spent golfing ... and counting).

By the way, is Hussein still on vacation?
Note how the press downplays his absences, unlike their microscopic coverage of the Bush Ranch time.

Aug. 23 2013 09:14 AM

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