This article is © 2013 by Stephen J. Sniegoski. All rights reserved by author.
This version was posted September 21, 2013 by WTM Enterprises.


The gassing, the UN, and Kerry’s game


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Those of a skeptical mind who want evidence for the culpability of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the August 21 poison gas attack may find the first part of a recent Washington Times article very revealing. The story is "Kerry tells U.N. to focus on ridding Syria of chemical weapons, not on sarin attack," by Guy Taylor and Ashish Kumar Sen (September 19).

Evidence that can be tested is supposed to be the basis for modern science. As philosopher Karl Popper maintains, scientific theories must be falsifiable. (The 19th-century American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce, who is often considered the father of the philosophical school of Pragmatism, referred to that approach, which was central to his philosophy, as fallibilism.)

However, Secretary of State John Kerry wants to prevent the UN from making any move toward a scientific approach. So far, while claiming that there is "no doubt" that Assad was to blame, Kerry has yet to provide any actual evidence that could be tested.

As Taylor and Sen write in the Washington Times:

Mr. Kerry called on the international body to avoid getting bogged down next week in a debate questioning American evidence about the regime's role in last month's chemical attack on a Damascus suburb.

"We really don't have time today to pretend that anyone can have their own set of facts," the secretary of state said in a shot at Russia, which, while working with the U.S. on the deal to secure Syria's weapons, has continued to claim that it was Syrian rebels — not forces aligned with Mr. Assad — who carried out the chemical attack.

Taylor and Sen do not deal with the significance of Kerry's position and move on to other issues involving Syria.

However, a story appearing in The Times of Israel on August 27 bears the noteworthy headline, "Israeli intelligence seen as central to US case against Syria."

Now, since the Israeli government has sought a U.S. attack on Syria, and intelligence indicating Assad's use of chemical weapons would obviously facilitate such a military endeavor, there is no reason to give any credence to the Israeli information. After all, Israel provided bogus intelligence on Saddam's alleged WMDs.

In contrast to the American faith-based arguments that assume Assad's guilt, Russia brought the UN a 100-page report in July blaming Syrian rebels for an earlier sarin attack in Aleppo. It included a detailed scientific analysis of samples that Russian technicians are purported to have collected at the site of the attack.

Kerry is essentially trying to put Assad's culpability for the gassing in the category of those assertions the truth of which one is not allowed to question and that to do so would constitute "hate" (in this case, alleged support for all Assad's brutal actions), thus barring one from mainstream venues. While that does not mean the American version is necessarily wrong, it certainly leads one with a skeptical mind, but little ambition to be successful in the American mainstream, to wonder.

If Assad is not flailing wildly about and gassing masses of people, and only possesses stockpiles of chemical weapons, there is no more reason that he must give them up than there is for Israel, which also is said to possesses chemical weapons along with its nuclear arsenal. (Israel does not publicly acknowledge its possession of either chemical or nuclear weaponry, and the U.S. government does not publicly acknowledge Israel's possession of those weapons, either.)

If the goal really were to make the Middle East free of horrific weapons, as America now pontificates, then an effort would be made to have all the countries in the region give up such weapons and undergo inspections. As it is, with the demand that the weapons be eliminated solely from Israel's enemies, the purpose appears to be simply to solidify Israeli military dominance in the region. Hitler, too, wanted to disarm his enemies.  Ω

September 21, 2013

© 2013 by Stephen J. Sniegoski. All rights reserved by author.
This version was posted in 2013 by WTM Enterprises.

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