Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Lies about Syria

Remember the story, spread by Dick Cheney amongst others, that the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction could not be found because they had been moved to Syria? This story served the dual purpose of explaining the embarrassing lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, while implicating Syria, perhaps the next American victim of an illegal attack, in aiding the Iraqi leadership by conspiring to hide the weapons. The Iraq Survey Group (ISG) has now concluded (the conclusion is in an addendum to its report) that "it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place." Why? Because detainees interviewed by the ISG "uniformly denied any knowledge of residual WMD that could have been secreted to Syria." In other words, there couldn't have been transfers of weapons of mass destruction to Syria because there were no weapons of mass destruction to transfer. Needless to say, Michael Ledeen isn't convinced (see also here, where Ledeen continues to riff on the fact that you can't prove a negative), but all sane people now have to conclude that there were no weapons of mass destruction, and that Syria didn't collude with Saddam to hide them.

The latest report recommends that scientists being detained by the Americans in order to interrogate them regarding weapons of mass destruction be released, a very good suggestion particularly as the detention of Iraqi scientists is one of the main complaints of the Iraqi resistance. For those deluded into thinking that the American occupation is going well, the report states that the deteriorating security situation made it impossible for the ISG to continue its work.

It's telling that one of the most important complaints made about John Bolton is that he outright lied about Syria's capacity to make weapons of mass destruction (this is politely referred to as 'stretch'). His speeches on the matter were in direct contradiction to American intelligence (although the CIA, with great effort, did manage to force him to tone down some of his more outrageous claims). The Bush Administration, after consistently lying about Iraq, will no doubt continue to consistently lie about Syria. Syria did not collude with Saddam to hide weapons of mass destruction (a ridiculous idea anyway, as Syria was no friend of Saddam), Syria's own capability regarding weapons of mass destruction has been blown up out of all proportion by John Bolton, and Syria has now complied with American and French pressure and has withdrawn its troops and visible intelligence personnel from Lebanon (thus complying with UN Security Council Resolution 1559). Nevertheless, in the continued build-up towards a war against Syria, expect to see more of the exact same lies repeated by Bush Administration officials (Cheney continued to talk about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and supposed ties between al Qaeda and Saddam for months after these lies were conclusively refuted), lies which will be reported by the disgusting American media with nary a word about what blatant horseshit they are. In the absence of anything else to plausibly complain about, we will no doubt be hearing a lot about Syria's failure to secure its border with Iraq, a funny complaint since the biggest and presumably best army in the world apparently is having the same difficulty.