[Marxism] Other Echos of Iraq in NATO response to WMD in Syria

Clay Claiborne clayclai at gmail.com
Mon Apr 29 19:51:18 MDT 2013

Happy May Day. I just posted this to my blog. I think you'll find that
it breaks new ground in several areas around the Syria chemical weapons
discussion. This is another long one.

In Solidarity,


      Other Echos of Iraq in NATO response to WMD in Syria

    "I will kill them all with chemical weapons. Who is going to say
    anything? The international community? F*ck them!"
                   - Al Majid, Saddam Hussein's Kurdish genocide point
    man | 26 May 1987

Ever since US President Barack Obama issued his first warning
to the Syrian government that the use of chemical weapons in the civil
war was a /"red-line"/ that might provoke a US military response, and
even more so after reported use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime
against the opposition in December, March and April, there have been
many commentators that have heard echoes of US President George Bush's
false charges that Saddam Hussein was harboring chemical weapons, the
excuse what was used to justify an imperialist war against Iraq, in the
current discussion of Syria and chemical weapons.

This report from the NY Times
reflects that perspective:

    The White House cited the Iraq war to justify its wariness of taking
    action against another Arab country on the basis of incomplete or
    potentially inaccurate assessments of its weapons of mass
    destruction. The press secretary, Jay Carney, said the White House
    would /"look at the past for guidance when it comes to the need to
    be very serious about gathering all the facts, establishing chain of
    custody, linking evidence of the use of chemical weapons to specific
    incidents and actions taken by the regime."/ 

Why this is a false comparison

There are two very fundamental errors made by almost everyone making
this comparison. 1) Saddam Hussein was charged with possession of
chemical weapons, whereas Bashar al-Assad is being charge with using
them to kill Syrians in the present moment. 2) In the past two years
Bashar al-Assad has killed tens of thousands of Syrian civilians with
many other weapons of mass destruction including cluster bombs,
artillery bombardment, air strikes, helicopter gunships and ballistic
missiles, there was no such human slaughter taking place when Bush and
company were making their charges of simple possession.

To make this simplistic comparison. i.e. false charges of WMD in Iraq
circa 2003 and questionable charges of WMD in Syria now, without
considering these two factors, means comparing apples to oranges. It
means talking utter nonsense while mass murder is taking place.

The fact that the charge here is /*use*/ and not possession, that it is
alleged that people have been murdered by the Assad regime with chemical
weapons at a time when he is clearly on a mass murder spree, means that
to raise Bush's false charges against Hussein as a warning against doing
anything to stop the ongoing slaughter in Syria is, in fact, to support
that slaughter.

Using this false comparison the international /"community"/ has danced
around Assad's use of chemical weapons and even after four attacks
killing scores of people and a mountain of other evidence, Obama in now
saying that he wants to be absolutely, positively, sure that Assad has
used chemical weapons before he declares that his red-line has been
crossed. Since there is no serious question as to whether Assad is
committing mass murder with just about everything else, this
preoccupation with chemical weapons turns into something of a macabre
fetish. Consider what we know already.

Evidence of Assad's Chemical Weapons Use

On Saturday, another of Assad's ex-generals has said he was ordered to
use chemical weapons against the Free Syrian Army. The general, who
foiled this ordered chemical attack and defected 15 March 2013
was interviewed by al Arabia

    A former army general from the chemical weapons branch, Zahir
    al-Sakit, said he was instructed to use chemical weapons during a
    regime battle with the FSA in the southwestern area of Hauran.

He is the second defecting general to claim that he had been ordered to
use chemical weapons. On Christmas day last year, Maj. Gen. Abdul Aziz
Jassem al-Shallal, at the time the highest ranking member of Assad's
army to defect, did so and he brought with him a gift for the
revolution, confirmation that the Syrian Army did use chemical weapons
in Homs earlier in December 2012.


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