Last Wednesday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people. Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services, The Cable has learned. And that is the major reason why American officials now say they’re certain that the attacks were the work of the Bashar al-Assad regime — and why the U.S. military is likely to attack that regime in a matter of days.
Even if we set aside, for the sake of argument, all other reasons for opposing US intervention in Syria, this claim is still problematic for one simple reason.
That reason? The US government lies.
It lies all the time. It lies casually, it lies flagrantly, it lies for political advantage and, to all appearances, lies compulsively even to its own political dis-advantage. It frequently lies to itself in one way while its internal branches lie to each other in multiple different ways.
The second Bush administration lied about WMD in Iraq.
The Clinton administration lied about Kosovo.
The first Bush administration lied (or at least provided friendly hosting for lies) about Kuwaiti babies being thrown from their incubators.
The Reagan administration lied about Iran-Contra.
I can’t think of a particular foreign policy lie the Carter administration told, but I’m sure there were some.
The Nixon administration lied about … well, pretty much everything.
The Johnson administration lied about the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
The US “intelligence services” airing this particularly timely and convenient claim are the same organizations who just got around to recanting after 60 years of lying about their role in the 1953 coup in Iran.
So, even if the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime was an acceptable casus belli, we still don’t know whether that happened or not, because we can’t believe a word the US government says.