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Monday, August 26, 2013

New York Times Editorial, "Responding to Syrian Atrocities": Hard to Believe that Russia and China Would Defend Assad's Use of Chemical Weapons?

In an editorial entitled "Responding to Syrian Atrocities" (, The New York Times asks that any response by the US against Syria's Assad regime be carefully considered and limited in scope. The Times writes (my emphasis in red):

"Using chemical arms is considered a war crime and banned under international treaties, including the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Geneva Protocol and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Even so, if he decides to use military force, Mr. Obama will have to show that he has exhausted diplomatic options and present a defensible legal justification, and that is not a simple matter. Ideally, the United States would muster a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorize military action. But Russia and China, which have veto power, have long protected Mr. Assad from punishment there and show no inclination to change. It is hard to believe that they would defend his use of chemical weapons, but there is no guarantee that they would not.

. . . .

If Mr. Obama does forgo the U.N., he will need strong endorsements from the Arab League and the European Union, and more countries than just Turkey, Britain and France should join the effort. And if he does proceed with military action, it should be carefully targeted at Syrian air assets and military units involved in chemical weapons use. This, too, will not be easy, but the aim is to punish Mr. Assad for slaughtering his people with chemical arms, not to be drawn into another civil war.

A political agreement is still the best solution to this deadly conflict, and every effort must be made to find one. President Obama has resisted demands that he intervene militarily and in force. Though Mr. Assad’s use of chemical weapons surely requires a response of some kind, the arguments against deep American involvement remain as compelling as ever."

After reading a Times editorial, I always find myself wondering whether it was written after consultation with one of Obama's aides to ascertain that they are on the same page.

"It is hard to believe that [Russia and China] would defend [Assad's] use of chemical weapons"? What simplemindedness provoking substance are they smoking in Manhattan's New York Times Building?

The message of this editorial? Yes, President Obama has painted himself into a corner, but don't do anything rash, and please make certain that Kerry's "dear friend" Assad is made aware, before a single Cruise missile is sent skyward, that this is a one-off operation intended to ease Obama's feelings of discomfort, but not intended to change facts on the ground.

It's kind of like Obama's "surge" in Afghanistan, when he concurrently informed the Taliban that he would be withdrawing US troops by the end of 2014. Talk about telegraphing your punches . . .

Apparently, Obama and the editorial board of the Times wear their naivete on their sleeves.


  1. Bambi finally meets Genghis Khan.

    Actually, I do wonder how Russia is going to deal with the issue now being more about a statement about use of chemical weapons than who used them. Why? Sochi2014. Russia has to worry about Chechen terror attacks.

    Hope you all have your gas masks and atropine in Caesarea.

  2. The cyber war has already begun.

    RT:"Syrian Electronic Army takes down New York Times website, claims Twitter’s domains"

    Normally, I wouldn't give much credit to anything written in RT but so far not a single US news outlet is reporting this story and the site has already been down for more than 10 hours.