Speaking for an audience gathered by the New America Foundation, U.S. Ambassador and National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice laid out the Administration’s case for intervention in Syria on the basis of the regime’s chemical weapons use.
Hitting the keys:
- Chemical weapons are different from conventional in scope and scale;
- Syrian stockpiles among the largest in the world;
- Only Assad has chemical weapons stocks, “the opposition does not”;
- Senior officers planned the August 21 attack and covered the evidence with subsequent shelling;
- The Assad regime has used chemical weapons since March, and with fewer casualties, but the regime appears to be lowering the threshold for use;
- Failure to respond means that more will die from similar attacks, that the same will bring us closer to the day when chemical weapons are used against Americans abroad and at home, and that the door will be opened to the use of other weapons of mass destruction and the madmen that would use them.
That leaves out a lot (I just couldn’t scribble fast enough), but Rice went on to discuss the meaning of a limited, defined, proportional response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons, noting that such an effort would take away any battlefield advantage to the regime relative to their cost to use.
Said Rice: “The United States will not take sides in sectarian struggles . . . but can and will stand up for certain principles in the region.”
Update – 9/9/2013/1337ET
” . . . this atrocity has been most gut wrenching . . . children lined up in shrouds, their voices forever silenced, devastated mothers and fathers kissing their children goodbye, pulling the white sheet up around their faces as if tucking them in. There are no words . . . for capturing such infinite cruelty. Where words fail us, actions must not.”
# # #