Kudos to the Daily Beast for reporting this story. Don't hold your breath for the network news outlets to pick up on it and doggedly pursue it.
In an exclusive published at the website today, Josh Rogin and Noah Shachtmanexplain how there's credible evidence that regime of Syrian dictator Basharal-Assad may have used chemical weapons in January 2014, something that U.S. intelligence officials are denying but which eyewitnesses on the ground insist occurred (excerpt follows; emphasis mine):
Expecting Syria to live up to an agreement between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for the cataloging, inspection, removal and eventual destruction or sequester of chemical weapons is a subtle seduction.
Why would a dictator like Bashar al-Assad relinquish his most potent weapon in the midst of a civil war? President Obama and his sycophants claim it was the threat of military action against Syria that focused Assad's mind. That hardly seems credible after Kerry's promise that any U.S. missile strike would be "unbelievably small."
In a 66-paragraph masterpiece, Journal reporters Adam Entous, Janet Hook, and Carol Lee gave a behind-the-scenes look of how, "Through mixed messages, miscalculations, and an 11th-hour break, the U.S. stumbled into an international crisis and then stumbled out of it." Among other things disclosed, "The same day [Secretary of State John] Kerry made his fateful remark" that Syria could simply give up its weapons to the international community, "the State Department sent Congress a memo detailing: 'Russian Obstruction of Actions on Syria.'" It really is a great exploration of the Keystone Kops nature of the Obama team's bungling of Syrian foreign policy. Here's a taste (emphasis mine):
While the liberal media predictably focus on the domestic political ramifications for President Obama as regards his strange and ever-evolving policy on Syria, the real story worth reporting is how Obama may actually be strengthening Bashar Assad's hand, even making him "a national hero" who can not only survive but thrive as a result.
In her September 12 front-page story "Syrian Rebels Hurt By Delay," The Wall Street Journal's Nour Malas has an excellent story to that effect. Filing from Istanbul, she quotes Mohammmed al-Daher, "a commander in the rebels' Western backed Free Syria Army" as lamenting that he "wouldn't be surprised if the end result of these negotiations is that [Assad] remains as president and beyond that, turns into a national hero who saved his country." Malas continued (emphasis mine):
May you live through interesting times goes the wording of an ancient Chinese curse, or so I've heard many times through the years.
The possibility of US military intervention in Syria is producing something comparable -- we are living through unusually candid times, at least for some people who previously didn't seem capable of it. (Audio clips after the jump)
Never one to let down his macho guard, Geraldo Rivera has made an entertaining suggestion on President Obama should deal with Syrian leader Bashar Assad -- "Let's kill him."
Gee, what could possibly go wrong if we did that? Aside from possibly converting Syria into yet another lawless failed state in the Middle East turned jihadist launch pad. Aside from that. (Audio clips after the jump)
Seven words I never thought I'd say -- keep up the good work, Michael Moore.
What prompted this was a tweet from the leftist filmmaker after Secretary of State John Kerry's appearance last night on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes" during which Kerry described why military action against the Assad regime in Syria is justified. (Video after the jump)
On Thursday's All In show, as he hosted Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson and MSNBC contributor Karen Finney to debate whether President Obama should attack Syria, MSNBC host Chris Hayes declared that it "sounds a little morally obtuse" for Grayson to use the words "not our problem" as he argued against intervention in Syria.
Referring to an interview with Secretary of State John Kerry from earlier in the show, Hayes asked if the Secretary said anything that Grayson found "compelling or convincing," leading the Florida Democrat to begin his response:
On Tuesday's edition of the Stephanie Miller radio show, guest host Hal Sparks, the comedian and semi-star of TV shows -- whose most prominent acting job was Queer as Folk on Showtime -- engaged in lame Bush-bashing as Obama prepared for war on Syria.
Sparks compared the Assad father-and-son dictators to the "monarchy" of father-and-son U.S. presidents. Syria has "A regime, by the way, that was passed on from father to son. Those always work out well. They certainly did well for us, didn’t they? I don’t know what it is, man, something about when Dad used to rule the place and now the son gets a shot, it just always kind of sucks." Then came the "monarchy" business:
Oh, how I long for the days when liberals wailed that "the rest of the world" hated America, rather than now, when the rest of the world laughs at us.
With the vast majority of Americans opposing a strike against Syria, President Obama has requested that Congress vote on his powers as commander in chief under the Constitution. The president doesn't need congressional approval to shoot a few missiles into Syria, nor -- amazingly -- has he said he'll abide by such a vote, anyway.
Politics, we're often told, is the art of the possible. The potential for American intervention in the Syrian civil war is stretching what previously was believed scarcely possible.
Liberal Democratic congressman Alan Grayson of Florida, one of the party's most strident voices, a man who once said GOP policy on health care boils down to wanting you to "die quickly," finds himself inexplicably agreeing with that most demonized of all Republicans, Sarah Palin. (Audio clips after the jump)
While covering Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday, ABC's Martha Raddatz described the Syrian dictator as "looking poised and immaculately dressed." This light-hearted description is reminiscent of some of the softball questions asked by Diane Sawyer on February 5, 2007. The then-Good Morning America anchor dished with the man who, in August, allegedly used chemical weapons on his own people: "You like video games?...Do you have an iPod?"
After the dictator announced that he did, Sawyer sounded more like an Access Hollywood host: "And you're a country music fan. Faith Hill? Shania Twain?"She then moved on to the topics of what films Assad enjoyed. The fan of chemical weapons and gassing his own people touted The Pursuit of Happyness. He blurbed, "It tells you a story...Maybe there's many beneficial things to learn from, about real life." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In my soon to be 77 years as a citizen of the United States of America, having lived through Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the dark days of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Watergate, 9/11 and all the other serious and profound events our beloved nation has been involved in over the last three quarters of a century, I have to say with all sincerity that I have never seen a president as confused, befuddled, impotent, insincere and as out of his depth as Barack Obama has become in dealing with the Syrian issue.
When you're the leader of the free world, you don't make statements you can't back up and you don't draw lines in the sand, watch your enemies cross them with impunity and go off and play a round of golf.
"The Obama administration has refused to send gas masks and other chemical-weapons protection gear to Syrian opposition groups, despite numerous requests dating back more than a year and until the reported chemical-weapons attack that struck the Damascus suburbs August 21," Josh Rogin of The Daily Beast reported earlier today. What's more, it wasn't for lack of supply, as there are numerous gas masks lying about in the region in storage, surplus from the late Iraq War, Rogin reported.
It's completely understandable and arguably advisable to not ship weapons to Syrian opposition groups for fear of weapons falling into the wrong hands, but refusing life-saving gas masks when the Syrian government is known to have chemical weapons caches is quite another. It remains to be seen how much the Big Three networks and newspaper outlets pick up on this thread, but we'll be watching. Below is a critical excerpt from his post (emphasis mine):
With all eyes on Syria and what appears to be a looming United States strike, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday that it’s a “pointless exercise” unless we’re going all in to remove Bashar Assad.
Appearing on Fox News’s Special Report Krauthammer said, “If we are going to have an attack, it should be aimed at that, and if it’s not, we shouldn't be doing anything."
"With all the talk that took place" during the Bush administration "on Iraq about the need for congressional approval, before there was a military strike, have you heard anyone in the media question how unilaterally Barack Obama can decide to send us to war [in Syria] without congressional approval?" NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell asked Neil Cavuto on the August 26 edition of his Fox News Channel program Your World. Cavuto opened the segment by noting that many in the media were prodding Obama to use unilateral military action against Syria for having crossed a "red line" by deploying chemical weapons.
There's also the fact that "this administration, [and their] foreign policy is an incoherent mess, " Bozell added, noting that in 2011, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as a "reformer," something the liberal media are not reminding the American public about now. "No one's asking the question, 'Do you folks in this administration have any idea what you're doing?!'" [watch the full segment below the page break]
Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan made a statement about Friday's announcement concerning Syria definitively having used chemical weapons on its people that is guaranteed to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
Appearing on PBS's McLaughlin Group, Buchanan said, "This has Tonkin Gulf written all over it...false flag."
Well, this should be fun. President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will hold a joint press conference in a few minutes in the Rose Garden. The last joint press conference the president held -- on May 13 with British Prime Minister David Cameron -- was met with some tough questions by the AP's Julie Pace.
Below the page break I'll be live-blogging the questions from journalists. As usual, please give us the questions you would like answered in the comments section. Also, who do you think might ask the toughest questions and who might try to help the president out with a softball? Let us know your thoughts.
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer made a dire prediction Monday concerning declining conditions in Syria.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report, Krauthammer said that if the "inevitable" regime change takes place, "we might be forced to send in our troops simply as a way to secure [Syria's vast supply of chemical weapons] because of the jihadists among the rebels."
ABC’s Barbara Walters will do most anything to score a big interview. Now, she’s been forced to apologize for trying to help a former aide to Syrian President Bashar Assad land a job or get into college in America in exchange for her Assad interview last December. Sheherazad Jaafari was a press aide to Assad and daughter of Bashar Jafaari, the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations. Last October, UN Ambassdador Susan Rice and the U.S. delegation to the UN walked out on a Jafaari speech.
Walters said in a statement issued Tuesday she rejected Jaafari's later request for a job at ABC News, saying it was a conflict of interest. But she said she contacted people on Jaafari's behalf and "I regret that." London’s Daily Telegraph acquired some of the friendly e-mails of Walters, like this one to Jafaari: