Syria's government has come forward to deny accusations that it has used chemical weapons, saying the United States lacks credibility. Obviously, that's exactly what you would say if you has used chemical weapons on your own people, because no country would admit to such a horrific war crime. But the American history with foreign weapons of mass destruction also plays right into the Syrian strategy, as Information Minister Omran Al-Zoubi accused the U.S. of trying "to repeat the Iraq example."
The U.S. did get some backup from UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who agreed with the assessment that Bashar al-Assad had likely used chemical weapons. (Israel has already made their feelings clear.) However, everyone from Cameron to Barack Obama to Chuck Hagel and Jay Carney are stepping carefully around any response to the question: "What are you going to do about it?" Even Cameron had to admit that he's worried about a repeat of Iraq, where an accusation was made before the world that turned out to be untrue. Everyone is saying there needs to be more conclusive evidence, while also refusing to say what they will do if the evidence comes down on the side of sarin.
POTUS: "In many ways a line's been crossed when you see 10s of thousands" killed by own regime. Chem weaps finding adds "increased urgency"— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) April 26, 2013
Earlier today, Carney, the White House press secretary, did leave open the possibility that a unilateral military action by the U.S. as being one of the available options, but the party line remains building a case on "credible" evidence that can shut down any accusations of doctored or erroneous claims.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.