Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Still shameless: Obama's silver, forked tongue at the UN

No proof has surfaced to assign blame for Syria's sarin attack of August 21.  The US government document that was supposed to lay out the proof was simply a litany of assertions, absent any evidence.  Robert Parry discussed the details, or lack thereof.  He points out that Bush's Iraq war 'dodgy dossier' had a lot more substance.

Then the US government made the fallacious claim that the UN report blamed the Assad regime for the attack. All the report really said was that sarin was used; it described rocket fragments, but failed to identify their provenance.  Various US government officials attempted to mislead us by pretending the use of sarin was proof it came from Assad. Tweeted Samantha Power@AmbassadorPower:

Haunting images of entire families dead in their beds. Verdict is clear: Assad has used CWs against civilians in violation of int'l norm 
New UN report confirms CWs were used in on August 21st; all signs show regime is culpable.  
Obama's oratory at the UN yesterday was less soaring than usual.  
"It's an insult to human reason and to the legitimacy of this institution to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack," the president said.
Samuel Johnson told us the last refuge of a scoundrel was patriotism.  Obama gave us two more refuges. He insulted the ability to reason of anyone who dared question his assumption.  The second scoundrel's trick was to challenge the "legitimacy of the institution [the UN]" -- were an esteemed diplomat to even suggest anyone besides Assad might have carried out the attack.

Consider: if Obama really had the proof, he wouldn't be working this hard to prevent us from thinking.  

Then the Prez went further out on a limb over enforcing international law.  Per AP:
President Barack Obama on Tuesday challenged the U.N. Security Council to hold Syria accountable if it fails to live up to pledges to dismantle its chemical weapons stockpiles. He said the United Nations' credibility and reputation is at stake."If we cannot agree even on this," Obama said, "then it will show that the United Nations is incapable of enforcing the most basic of international laws."
Yet the US has failed to comply with international law in the destruction of our own chemical weapons: sarin, VX and sulfur mustard, the same three held by Syria, with 3 times the tonnage that Syria has.  Our government says it can't get rid of our own stockpiles until 2023, 11 years behind the schedule we agreed to, a failure to comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention.  We haven't asked the UN to enforce the treaty on us.  (Some journalists claimed the US had gotten a deadline extension, but they neglected to mention the extension ran out 17 months ago and the treaty forbade any more extensions.)
29 April 2012 marked the passing of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) deadline for possessors of chemical weapons  to eliminate their stockpiles. However, the United States maintains that it has destroyed 90 percent of its stockpile and will destroy the remaining 10 percent “as soon as practicable.”
Furthermore, the international agency in charge of verifying the destruction of chemical weapons and treaty compliance has never performed the function it is now being asked to assume.  So much for Obama's demand that the UN "enforc[e] the most basic of international laws":
"The OPCW is not designed for this," said David Chuter, a former disarmament expert with the British government. "The idea that a country at war might join the Chemical Weapons Convention and be inspected never remotely crossed anyone's mind." 
Finally, since Syria has never been a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (till it just applied), what right the UN has to enforce any inspections or sanctions on Syria over chemical weapons is questionable.  Does Obama really want the UN to enforce treaty compliance on all parties and nonparties to the treaty?  That would include Israel and North Korea, as well as the out-of-compliance US and Russia. What a hornet's nest that would be.

Journalist Dave Lindorff expands on US hypocrisy in all this.  If this was really about repugnant weapons that kill indiscriminately, especially children, then why has the US refused to sign UN conventions on the prohibitions of cluster weapons (2008) with 108 signatories and landmines (1999), for which 160 nations are parties? Why do we use these weapons?

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