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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/14/18

Attacking Syria: Thumbing Noses at Constitution and Law

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United-states-bill-of-rights, Bush: 'A goddamned piece of paper.
United-states-bill-of-rights, Bush: 'A goddamned piece of paper.
(Image by (From Wikimedia) Technische Nachbearbeitung: --wolpertinger 10:48, 26. Mär 2005 (CET) / Aus der englischsprachigen Wikipedia, Author: See Source)
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The U.S. Constitution and international law suffered a stinging blow last night at the hands of an odd coalition that might be called Goldilocks and two moral dwarfs posing as Marine generals, together with a "Right Dishonorable" harridan and a young French poodle.

As was the case 15 years ago when the U.S. and UK launched a war of aggression against Iraq, the pretext was so-called "weapons of mass destruction" (WMD) -- this time the claimed use on April 7 of chlorine (and maybe the nerve agent sarin -- who knows?) in Duma, a suburb of Damascus. And this time French President Emmanuel Macron was allowed to join, as junior partner, the gang that can't lie straight.

The attacks by the Gang of Three came hours before specialists from the UN Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were to arrive in Syria to study soil and other samples in Duma. The question leaps out: Why could the Gang not wait until the OPCW had a chance to find out whether there was such an attack and, if so, what chemical(s) were used?

Sentence First, Verdict Later

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis could only say that he believes there was a chemical attack and that perhaps sarin, in addition to chlorine, was involved. Serving until now as the only available "evidence" are highly dubious reports from agenda-laden "social media." What is clear is that the U.S./UK/French Gang wanted to strike before the OPCW investigators had a chance to ascertain what happened. Hmm. All the earmarks of "Sentence first; verdict afterwards."

Former Secretary of State John Kerry made a habit of advertising how "extraordinarily useful" social media can be. He got that right. Of the main alleged "chemical attacks" by Syria -- on August 21, 2013; April 4,2017; and April 7, 2018 -- the primary, if not exclusive -- source of information was the "extraordinarily useful," but notoriously unreliable, "social media."

Marine Martinets

Briefing the media last night, after Goldilocks had set the stage announcing "retaliation" for the (unproven) use of chemicals by the Syrian government, were two four-star Marine generals, one of them (Mattis) retired, who seem to have mistakenly thought that the Marine motto had been changed to "Semper Lie." It was a very sad spectacle.

In 1961, when I was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, I took a solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. Also drummed into the heads of us newly minted officers was the obligation to tell the truth -- always.

I had assumed -- apparently naively -- that Marines took the same oath and obligation. The attack on Iraq 15 years ago destroyed that assumption. I will cite just two examples that scandalized me.

Hear No Evil, Speak No Truth, Get Rich Quick

Marine Gen. Zinni was receiving an award at the Veterans for Foreign War convention on August 26, 2002, and decided to play Brer' Rabbit as he listened to the main speaker, Vice President Dick Cheney, set the meretricious terms of reference for war with Iraq.

Zinni had been commander of CENTCOM and had retired two years before, but his continued role as fully cleared consultant had enabled him to stay up to date on key intelligence findings for Iraq. Zinni later said he was shocked to hear Cheney's depiction of intelligence (Iraq has WMD and is amassing them to use against us) that did not square with what he knew the accurate intelligence to be. "There was no solid proof that Saddam had WMD. ... I heard a case being made to go to war," Zinni told Meet the Press three and a half years later. (Emphasis mine.)

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
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