Democrats & Liberals Archives

Growing Obfuscation of the Bombing of Syria

Back on November 6th, I explored the convoluted information (or disinformation) regarding the September 6, 2007 bombing of Syria in Who Bombed Syria? Did Syria Get Bombed?.

Well Gareth Porter has returned to the topic with new information that Israel's Syrian Airstrike Was Aimed at Iran. ... OK ...

If nothing else, this story is getting more convoluted as more information and disinformation comes trudging to the surface.

If Porter's sources and analysis is correct, the bombing of Syria's "nuclear facility" (which by current information was not a nuclear facility) was not about Syria but Iran. In fact, it was a consequence of a dispute within the Bush administration between Cheney and Rice regarding the decision to start talking with North Korea. Rice (apparently) pushed for loosening up towards North Korea and Cheney opposed it. Likewise, the effort to open some line of dialog with Iran was rebuffed by Cheney and his alliance.

So why Syria? And how does that send a message to Iran? Apparently because of the rumor(?) that North Korea was supplying nuclear weapons capabilities to Syria (and Iran), and that Iran is purportedly also supporting Syria's (alleged) nuclear program.

So the story gets crazier and crazier. Israel (purportedly) agrees to preemptively bomb Syria (with US airforce backup) because Cheney has a dispute with Rice over policy. Or that the U.S. preemptively bombs a site in Syria with Israeli backing. Or that there was no nuclear facility (which seems to be the case) and the top secret mission (which is leaked and counter-leaked by sources within the administration) was a "test run" to show Iran that Israel (or the U.S.) were willing to use tactical nukes against another nation preemptively.

This whole thing stinks to high heaven. It is remarkable that Cheney and Rice would be at odds as they were both in the inner circle (as Powell never was). However, what is with the so-called leaks, and contradictory leaks? Exactly who is to be kept guessing here, and why is the guessing supposed to be public? Who is leaking and why? While Porter doesn't name any names, some of the leaks have been named (maybe).

According to Olivier Guitta at the Middle East Times, some of those leaks are coming from "ranking Republicans on the House Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Peter Hoekstra, who were briefed on the Israeli strike and sworn to secrecy. They wrote an op-ed in the October 20 Wall Street Journal clearly underlining the seriousness of the situation regarding both the North Korean and Iranian involvement in the Syrian arms program."

So the cabal around this top secret "we did it they did it" extends beyond the White House to Republicans who are willing to carry the administration's (or Cheney's) water.

This whole endeavor is beyond bizarre. It borders on the illegal, or one would think so. Someone had to approve the airstrike on Syria -whether U.S. planes were the actors or protectors. Who was that? Cheney? Bush? The only one who would be able to approve such an action (as far as I know) would be Bush. While Bush "delegated" some significant powers to Rumsfeld when he was Secretary of Defense, somehow it seems unlikely that Gates would have the authority to make such a strike, and I am pretty sure that the Vice President doesn't have the legal authority to order such an action either.

If this is not already on somebody's dance card for investigation, it definitely should be.

Posted by Rowan Wolf at November 21, 2007 11:58 AM
Comment #238997

Rowan, thank you for the research and update on this story which seems to be of little interest to most folks. I am not sure what is going on, but, when the McClellan story implicating Bush and Cheney in the Plame cover-up is buried on page 15 of the Wash. Post, something is very askew.

I have no doubt that there are deep, deep divisions in the White House, Pentagon, and Intelligence Agencies, over what is happening and what to do about Pakistan, Iran, Syria, and Iraq. The incredible failures in and following the invasion of Iraq, have no doubt left many in the Executive Branch risk averse to backing the next greatest mistake in foreign policy of all time, with their name attached to it.

America is strong on armament, but, I have never in my life seen America this weak on responsible and effective leadership. And I am soon to be 59 years old. It is inexpressibly disheartening to witness all this action without accountability, and in secrecy, and so prone to unintended consequences as to imply a child is at the helm.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 22, 2007 12:53 AM
Comment #239017

To Syria’s credit, it has received the lion’s share of refugees from Iraq….and how many Iraqi refugees has the US taken in??

Posted by: Rachel at November 22, 2007 9:58 AM
Comment #239065

Forty years ago Syria was a real threat to Israel. Today it is not. The decisions and policies coming out of the Knesset are confused and lack purpose. Olmert’s cabinet has a 3% approval rating, and we say Bush is unpopular. If one accounts for margin of error that’s effectually zero percent approval. The summer before last 150 rockets were fired down into the valleys of northern Israel. People there were stuck in shelters for weeks while a modern military failed to counter hand-held weaponry.

This action and the lack of information surrounding it should be a blaring example of the poor job our government and our journalists do to inform us. It has become almost impossible for we as everyday citizens to discuss the most trivial issues for shortage of facts. Definitely something that needs to be fixed.

Posted by: Right Now...please at November 23, 2007 12:04 PM
Post a comment