LET US NOT AVERT OUR EYES – AT 9:57 A.M. ET: It is very easy, in days like this, to avert our eyes from foreign crises. Many Americans have died in the last century because we have looked away as danger lurked. We later promise never to make the same mistake again, and we generally do.
The Mideast is boiling, and Iran's nuclear program continues, not derailed by the uncertain trumpet that is Obama's foreign policy. The great national-security reporter, Eli Lake, reports in Daily Beast of the current, pressing danger from Syrian WMD:
With the days and weeks of the Syrian government appearing numbered, the Central Intelligence Agency is scrambling to get a handle on the locations of the country’s chemical and biological weapons, while assessing the composition, loyalties, and background of the rebel groups poised to take power in the event President Bashar al-Assad falls.
Obama administration officials tell The Daily Beast that the CIA has sent officers to the region to assess Syria’s weapons program. One major task for the CIA right now is to work with military defectors to find out as much information on Syria’s weapons of mass destruction, according to one U.S. official with access to Syrian intelligence. Another focus will be to sort through reams of intercepted phone calls and emails, satellite images, and other collected intelligence to find the exact locations of the Syrian weapons, this official said.
This task has become more urgent in recent days. Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Syrian military was moving its chemical weapons out of storage. On July 17, Nawaf Fares, Syria’s ex-ambassador to Iraq, told the BBC the regime would not hesitate to use chemical weapons against the rebel fighters. On Wednesday, a bomb killed the Syrian defense minister and the brother-in-law of President al-Assad in Damascus. The blow to the al-Assad cabinet raised the prospect that the Syrian regime may be on its last legs.
And this delicious note:
Also unclear is what, if anything, Iraq transferred to Syria before the 2003 U.S. invasion...
...Whether or not sensitive weapons technology was moved to Syria is a hotly disputed question in the intelligence community. James Clapper, now the Director of National Intelligence and formerly the director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, said in 2003 that he believed materials had been moved out of Iraq in the months before the war and cited satellite imagery.
Obama administration officials say the White House has yet to decide on how it will respond if pro-al-Assad forces use chemical weapons against the Syrian population or a neighboring country. The administration has told senior regime officials that they will be held responsible if they fail to secure chemical weapons.
COMMENT: I'm not sure that being "held responsible" by Barack Obama will put the appropriate chill up their spines. He isn't exactly known as a tiger, and he has been remarkably indifferent to the Syrian genocide.
What if some of the Syrian WMD is shown to have come from Iraq? It destroys the entire "Bush lied, thousands died" line of the left, and its amen corner in the press and the universities. But not to worry. My gut feeling is that, even if proof presents itself, it will be suppressed. Too embarrassing. Not in accordance with the party line. It will be up to bloggers and gutsy military experts, at that point, to shine lights where they need to be directed.
July 21, 2012