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August 29, 2013

War of Choice? France, UK Seem to be Backing Away from Syria Strike
OBAMA, THE INTERNATIONALIST, WILLING TO GO IT ALONE

The directors of US warmaking decisions are getting a peaceful, queasy feeling.

When I say they're "backing away," I mean they seem to be signalling this through their softened rhetoric, not that they've actually announced they were reconsidering.

The UK David Cameron has already climbed all the way back down the tree. He says he'll now be taking the case for war to Parliament.

There's an innovation we could stand to imitate, huh?

Meanwhile, AP sources say that even within the administration, people are saying the proof of the Syrian government's responsibility for the gas attack is "not a slam dunk."

Those words seem precisely chosen to mimic George Tenet's conclusion that the case for Iraqi WMD was a "slam dunk." Well, if that was a slam dunk, and turned out to be (we think) wrong, and this isn't even a slam dunk, well then, what is it?

The intelligence linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack is no "slam dunk," with questions remaining about who actually controls some of Syria's chemical weapons stores and doubts about whether Assad himself ordered the strike, U.S. intelligence officials say.

...

[M]ultiple U.S. officials used the phrase "not a slam dunk" to describe the intelligence picture — a reference to then-CIA Director George Tenet's insistence in 2002 that U.S. intelligence showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was a "slam dunk" — intelligence that turned out to be wrong.

A report by the Office of the Director for National Intelligence outlining that evidence against Syria includes a few key caveats — including acknowledging that the U.S. intelligence community no longer has the certainty it did six months ago of where the regime's chemical weapons are stored, nor does it have proof Assad ordered chemical weapons use...

A three-page report released Thursday by the British government said there was "a limited but growing body of intelligence" blaming the Syrian government for the attacks. And though the British were not sure why Assad would have carried out such an attack, the report said there was "no credible intelligence."

Sounds a lot like a "clear consensus" and "the science is settled" to me.

UPDATE: OBAMA, THE GREAT INTERNATIONALIST HOPE, SAYS HE'S WILLING TO GO IT ALONE IN SYRIA. We've come an awfully long way from The Global Test and the Wisdom of the International Community, huh?


President Obama is willing to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria even while allies like Britain are debating whether to join the effort and without an endorsement from the United Nations Security Council, senior administration officials said Thursday.

He's also willing to go it alone without Congressional authorization or the support (or even the knowledge) of the American public, too, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised.






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