By Richard Walker
Is the United States close to invading Syria? If shrill warnings emanating from Washington and Israel that Syria is preparing to use chemical weapons on its own people is any indication, then the West is following the same script it used to justify President George W. Bush’s war against Iraq, launched on March 19, 2003.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently claimed the Syrian military was preparing to put deadly chemicals on warheads to drop them on rebels and its own people. She never produced any evidence to support her claim beyond saying the Syrians were ready to use weapons of mass destruction.
Almost immediately, President Barack Obama announced Syria would be crossing a red line if it used any of its chemical weapons stockpiles, implying such a move would bring a retaliatory strike against Syrian forces from the air or the introduction of U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ground troops.
Syria’s ally, Russia, which has special forces guarding its naval facility in the Syrian port city of Tartus, reacted angrily to Clinton’s warning, pointing out there was no evidence the Syrian leader would give such an order. A government spokesman in Moscow said Russian President Vladimir Putin was assured by Syrian President Bashar al Assad that he would not use his chemical arsenal.
Mrs. Clinton’s role in stoking a growing NATO and Israeli fervor for striking a deadly blow to decapitate the Syrian military through a possible air war was followed by Germany supplying Turkey with Patriot missile batteries at Washington’s instigation. Turkey declared it would position missiles on its border with Syria. In Russia’s opinion, the move represented an escalation of the crisis and was a further sign NATO was getting ready to play a more direct role in its attempts to overthrow the Syrian regime.
The moral duplicity of Obama and Mrs. Clinton has been self-evident when one compares the Syrian crisis to others. U.S. leaders were silent when the Israeli military used phosphorus bombs against civilians in Gaza and Lebanon and when U.S. troops used these weapons and depleted uranium in Iraq. There was no reaction from Obama or Mrs. Clinton when Israel littered parts of the southern Lebanese landscape with cluster munitions in 2006. Also, no mention has been made of the fact that Israel has more than just an undeclared nuclear weapons capability. It has immense chemical and biological weapons stocks, as well.
Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.