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Topic: Just When You Thought It Could Not Get Worse
Posted by Everyman - 11:28:17 EST

The deceptions are revealed by the words used to deny them.

red line

Yesterday Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy reported that the State Department concluded Butcher Assad used chemical weapons against his own people back on December 23. Al Jazeera reported the incident at the time, but it was hardly noticed, and little action or interest was shown by the international community.

Now, however, it appears that the State Department investigated the attack at the time and concluded chemical weapons may well have been involved. Washington’s response to the news was to cover it up and ignore it, even though President Obama previously said the use of chemical weapons was a "red line."

The growing controversy puts the White House in a tight spot. The administration would look less than resolute if the reports stand up and no action is taken. "We have been very clear to the Assad regime — but also to other players on the ground — that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized . . . That would change my calculus; that would change my equation, " President Obama said in August.

To avoid a stark contrast between words and deeds, the White House scrambled to play down the story today, as the FT reports: "Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in a statement that reporting about the incident in Homs was not 'consistent with what we believe to be true about the Syrian chemical weapons programme.'"

In the midst of the glib, meaningless words, there is no truth to be reliably found on any side. The antagonists lie routinely and rely upon thinly-disguised propaganda in support of their respective causes. The Americans - once at least considered (as often as not incorrectly) to be honest brokers - are not a reliable source to get at whatever the truth of the matter(s) may be.

You may care what the truth is.

Good luck with that.

And as for "red lines"?

Let them draw them as though they matter, if you must, but do not make the mistake of believing that they do.

Death threatened - or caused - by chemical weapons in Syria, or death threatened by nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran's mullahs?

Will earnest red lines protect the world - us - against either?

I'm going to guess that you know the answer to that . . .

And that you came to understand that most stopped coloring within the lines long ago.

Like it or not.


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