Sunday, April 09, 2017

17.7 - For the Record: a brief comment on the gas attack in Syria

For the Record: a brief comment on the gas attack in Syria

For the Record, two quick observations on a topic which I have shamefully neglected and even now am not going to give the attention it deserves: Syria, specifically, the gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, an opposition-held town in Idlib province in the north of that nation.

The death toll has risen to 89 at last report, with over 500 harmed and confidence is high not only from sources like the US government but more importantly from the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders that the weapon was a neurotoxin like sarin.

The first observation is that Russia's attempt to pin the blame on the Islamist forces in the town, claiming that a Syrian attack on a "terrorist warehouse" containing an "arsenal of chemical weapons" intended for fighters in Iraq doesn't pass the laugh test. It is utterly childish, one expert even calling it "infantile" and another "fanciful."

Approximate location of Khan Sheikhoun
What makes it especially nonsensical is that Russia claimed that the Syrian attack on this supposed warehouse took place at 4:30am Eastern Standard Time - but the first photos of victims were posted online at 2:28am EST, just over two hours before, if we believe Russia, the raid happened.

The other observation is that presidential mouthpiece and Melissa McCarthy impersonator Sean Spicer declared that we know who really is to blame for the attack: Barack Obama, because he was "weak and irresolute" after a chemical weapons attack in 2012.

So in other words, they are claiming that Bashar al-Assad felt he had a free hand to use gas on Khan Sheikhoun because of something Barack Obama did or didn't do five years ago - while the fact that just a few days before the attack Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, and Spicer himself all said that the US was no longer focused on getting Assad out of power had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Which goes to show that when it comes to infantile and laughable arguments, the Russians ain't got nothing on us.

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