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  • Suppose the Syrian Regime Used Chemical Weapons…

    Posted by Trent Telenko on January 22nd, 2013 (All posts by )

    …and the USA ignored it.


    It just happened.

    Lee Smith reports the following:

    Last week, we learned of a secret State Department assessment that forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad had recently used chemical weapons. The State Department cable, signed by the U.S. consul in Istanbul and based on interviews with doctors, defectors from the Syrian Army, and activists, made what one unnamed administration official called a “compelling case” that the Syrian military had used Agent 15, or BZ gas, in Homs last month against the Sunni-majority opposition. Nonetheless, within 24 hours, the State Department challenged the news report and the cable’s conclusion, stating that it “found no credible evidence to corroborate or to confirm that chemical weapons were used.”

    Hat Tip to Instapundit for the above link.

    Please note that this denial by the Obama Administration is not unique in American history. In fact it has been the unofficial policy of the US Government to ignore evidence of chemical weapons use since at least the 1930’s.

    See this PDF document by Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi York University, Toronto on the Japanese use of chemical weapons in pre-World War 2 China that documents what the American government knew at the time, compared to official US government policy.


    13 Responses to “Suppose the Syrian Regime Used Chemical Weapons…”

    1. Robin Goodfellow Says:

      BZ gas is an incapacitating agent, so perhaps it’s not quite as bad as using nerve gas or mustard agent. Though it’s use on the battlefield is still rather disturbing. Interestingly, Iraq is alleged to have stockpiled large quantities of BZ/Agent 15 during the ’90s. Make of that what you will.

    2. Whitehall Says:

      Agree with Robin – BZ is seldom lethal but much worst than tear gas or pepper spray.

      Interesting that Assad’s forces thought it worthwhile is use as the US military never seemed to adopt it for battlefield use. Maybe it is more useful against civilians or rebels in urban warfare.

      Any use of chemical weapons gets the public in a panic or into righteous indignation.

      I can see a US policy of not making too big a deal of it when it looks to stay internal.

    3. Trent Telenko Says:

      If BZ “ment nothing” the State Department would not go through the exercise of denying it happened after it’s report leaked.

    4. Tom Holsinger Says:

      Trent, it is an incapacitating agent. Here is its Wikipedia listing:

      This is likely the Alawite regime, and/or the Iranian mullahs, testing the limits and desensitizing the issue. You are helping them.

    5. Trent Telenko Says:


      Pointing out past American government policy & using it for predicting the near future isn’t “helping.

      That is like blaming Cassandra for the Greeks.

      As for “desensitizing the issue” BZ is a proscribed agent under the relevant Chemical weapon Ban/Treaty the USA is a signatory of.

      “Desensitizing the issue” is what the State Department did with it’s action in denying its own report…to avoid any obligations to take action under said treaty.

    6. renminbi Says:

      Didn’t Susan Rice in 1994 say calling events in Rwanda genocide might obligate the US to do something about it? Seeing no evil seems to be a state dep’t tradition.

    7. TMLutas Says:

      It really is too late for the Syrians. We have squandered the opportunity for proper State Department reform and it’s not going to get done in this term, not in time to help them, not from this crew. Forward!

      All we can do is save whatever place is going to blow up two crises from now. That’s two crises if we’re lucky. It might be three, or four, or we might continue to shame the US with a State Department that’s dysfunctional for quite a bit longer.

    8. Tom Holsinger Says:

      Trent, CS tear gas is also banned.

      “Use of CS in war is prohibited under the terms of the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, signed by most nations in 1993 with all but five other nations signing between the years of 1994 through 1997. The reasoning behind the prohibition is pragmatic: use of CS by one combatant could easily trigger retaliation with much more toxic chemical weapons such as nerve agents. Only five nations have not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention and are therefore unhindered by restrictions on the use of CS gas: Angola, Egypt, North Korea, Somalia, and Syria.[18]

      Domestic police use of CS is legal in many countries, however, as the Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits only military use.”

    9. Mike K Says:

      About the only real military use of tear gas is combined with nerve agents. The purpose of that, and nausea inducing agents, is to inhibit the use of gas masks.

    10. Whitehall Says:

      We used a lot of CS and the like in Viet Nam if memory serves, especially for clearing tunnels.

      The left howled then too.

    11. Mike K Says:

      I was talking about strategic use. Tunnels would be an excellent use. We all had to go into a room and experience it when I was in basic.

    12. grey eagle Says:

      Where did Syria get weapons of mass destruction when we know that Iraq never had them? Obviously, Syria does not have any WMDs. It never had the money nor the ability to get WMDs.

    13. Mike K Says:

      Grey Eagle, shhhh.

      Nobody here but us chickens.

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