Friday, August 30, 2013

Thin: The US Gov't Intelligence Report on Syria's CW / NY Times

Here is the report and it says very little.

The report makes the case that a CW attack occurred.  I think by now everyone agrees it occurred.  The issue of import, however, is who did it, not whether it happened.

The report also tells us, as if we didn't already know, that Assad has chemical weapons and delivery systems that could have been used.  And, he has done it before!  Well, okay, but did he do it THIS time?  That is the real question.

The intelligence dances around the issues.  For example, the report language seems more lawyerly than anything else:
"We assess that the scenario in which the opposition executed the attack on August 21 is highly unlikely," and "We have seen no indication that the opposition has carried out a large-scale, coordinated rocket and artillery attack like the one that occurred on August 21."  And another one:  "We continue to judge that the Syrian regime views chemical weapons as one of many tools in its arsenal..."
The report says it has satellite images of rockets being launched from regime-controlled sites--but fails to produce any images.  It claims to have intercepted communications confirming use by the regime, but releases no transcript.  Revealing satellite images and communications intercepts would not expose any hidden sources or methods, although this was the reason given by Secretary of State Kerry (and by this report) for hiding intelligence details.

Being familiar with the quality of evidence brought forward in other CW and BW investigations, I can only say that the quality of what was revealed today is pathetic.  How to describe it?

It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is poised to become the first U.S. leader in three decades to attack a foreign nation without mustering broad international support or acting in direct defense of Americans.
Not since 1983, when President Ronald Reagan ordered an invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada, has the U.S. been so alone in pursing major lethal military action beyond a few attacks responding to strikes or threats against its citizens...
CBS News:
WASHINGTON - The White House has provided a series of briefings for key lawmakers over the past 24 hours, trying to combat complaints that Congress is not being consulted on a potential U.S. strike in Syria. Still, many members want more: They want any military action to be put to a vote first.But their own schedule makes that unlikely. Congress has been gone for a month and doesn't return to Washington for a week and a half.
That didn't stop more than 160 House members - Democrats and Republicans - from signing letters this week urging the president to "receive authorization from Congress" before striking Syria... 

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