There is nothing Assad wouldn’t do to cling on to power. So, his critics may want to believe that he is using chemicals in what has all the trappings of a last ditch battle to keep the rebels at bay. But, one should not make the mistake of falling for US presidents’ claims hook, line and sinker. Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush, it may be recalled, joined forces with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to falsify intelligence dossiers to mislead the world into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction at his disposal and, therefore, Iraq had to be invaded and the threat neutralised. Later, the truth became known but it was too late; Iraq had already been bombed into the Stone Age and hundreds of thousands of people including women and children killed.
Obama publicly declared last year that he as US President did not bluff. He cannot fool all of the people all of the time! In the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden, he claimed that the terror mastermind had put up resistance. He said: "No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body." But, subsequently, it was revealed that there had been no gun battle and bin Laden had been executed while the raid was being played out on TV for Obama et al to watch in the refuge of the White House. So much for Obama’s credibility!
The White House has written to the US Senate that it is pushing for a US probe to evaluate what it calls evidence that the Assad regime has used the chemical agent called sarin. Such an investigation may be in order, but the question is whether it will ever be impartial, given UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s servility and partiality to the US and its allies. He is too lily-livered to ruffle the Eagle’s feathers.
Is it only the Syrian regime that should be held accountable for chemical warfare? Why was it that the White House never so much as uttered a whimper of protest when Saddam Hussein, during his honeymoon with the Americans, carried out chemical attacks on fellow Iraqis? As we have pointed out in these columns previously, a US Senate inquiry disclosed in 1995 that during the Iran-Iraq war the US had provided Hussein with all strains of germs with which he produced biological weapons. Crop spraying helicopters and chemicals he used to massacre civilians in their thousands in his genocidal Anfal campaign against Kurds also came from the US! Chemical Ali, who carried out those attacks on civilians, finally had to pay for his heinous crimes, but the western government leaders and multinationals notorious for aiding and abetting Hussein, Ali and other criminals have gone scot free! That Hussein was a blood-thirsty monster with nuclear ambitions was known to one and all, but Portugal, France and Italy had no qualms about selling him uranium; he secured the help of Germany to construct centrifuge enrichment facilities. It is not too late for the UN to be pressured to investigate these crimes and bring perpetrators to justice. During the first Gulf War, the US made use of depleted uranium for ordnance and experts believe as much as 320 tons of it may have been used. Besides Iraqis, some American troops became terminally ill as a result. The US also dumped hundreds of tons of Agent Orange on Vietnam, causing widespread destruction and the surviving victims have been denied justice. It backed dictator Hussein to the hilt while he was using chemicals against Iranians and went to the extent of blocking a UN Security Council condemnation of Iraq’s chemical attacks. Today, it is trying to move the UN against Syria!
President Assad may be severely dealt with if he has resorted to chemical warfare. But, the US has no moral authority to cast stones at him. In fact, it finds itself in the exalted company of Assad where such crimes are concerned. It is time the US and its allies all out to oust Assad turned the search light inward.
May 1, 2013