A New Level of Depravity

“For a world that too often seems impervious to the horrors of Syria’s civil war, the photos and videos from Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack, which killed dozens of civilians, bore witness to a new level of atrocity,” The New York Times reports in an editorial. “People gasping for breath, turning blue, lying dead in the street — all victims of airstrikes apparently by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

“It was the deadliest chemical attack in years in Syria, a new marker for a leader with a record of brutality dating to 2011, when he turned his weapons on peaceful protesters. A second attack on Tuesday hit a clinic treating the victims.

“Chlorine gas attacks have become almost routine in northern Syria, but medical workers and other witnesses, citing the symptoms this time and the high casualties, said even more lethal nerve agents and other banned toxins were probably used.

“On Tuesday, Mr. Trump called the attack a ‘reprehensible’ act ‘that cannot be ignored by the civilized world.’ The usually invisible secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, did better. He condemned Mr. Assad by name, said he must be held accountable and pointed out that Russia and Iran “also bear great moral responsibility for these deaths.”

“But the comments have little power, coming as they do after weeks of Mr. Trump voicing both distaste for America’s traditional role as a promoter of human rights and praise of authoritarian leaders, like Vladimir Putin of Russia. Mr. Trump also blamed Mr. Obama for the new attacks, citing his ‘weakness and irresolution’ in setting a red line in 2012 against chemical weapons and then doing ‘nothing.’ Has he conveniently forgotten September 2013 tweets telling Mr. Obama ‘do not attack Syria’?

“More important, Mr. Trump did not say how he would respond now. He could start by supporting a strong resolution, with sanctions, at the United Nations Security Council. Given the close coordination between Mr. Assad and Russia, it is hard to believe Moscow’s insistence that it had no military role in the strike. Regardless, Russia and Iran are complicit in the brutality.”

The complete editorial is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

10 thoughts on “A New Level of Depravity”

  1. Lets review, a few days ago Rex Tillerson was saying we might have to accept Assad as a political reality in Syria. Then the gas attack in Idlib, a town that is controlled by Salafi groups such as Ahrar al-Sham, jihadists who hate the West and have used gas before. The Pentagon is saying it was Assad who dropped those gas bombs, but to many others it just doesn’t make sense. Some social media contacts that were in the YPG as a combat medical unit saw the videos and have treated victims of sarin gas say they don’t look like that. Assad might have done it, but it is not as clear as what US politicians and the retired generals on tv make it out to be.

    So it sounds like Trump is going to give the green for an attack on Assad’s military targets, maybe in the next 24 – 48 hours. Most likely it will be cruise missiles sent from the US Navy. The question I’m wondering is what has Putin given Assad for surface to surface missile systems and if Assad has total control of them or if Russians are keeping control on their use. If they are anywhere near as deadly as what Syria has for surface to air defense systems, the S 400, we might see some US naval vessels sunk, and that would be big. A lot of “if this or that”, but there is a very good chance we might see a very interesting next few days.

    There is also another reason for Trump to hit Assad very soon, his meeting with the Chinese President tomorrow and sending a message regarding getting North Korea under control.

  2. I think Putin gave the go-ahead to Drumpski, to help his popularity ratings. If I am not mistaken, those missiles are one or two million each. Drumpski is celebrating 5th of July a little early. I think Steve Willer is much closer to the truth than the national news media.

    1. I heard the 1000 lb warhead Tomahawk is about $500K each.
      As I mentioned yesterday, part of hitting Assad last night was also about sending a message to the Chinese President in their meeting today, it is a warning shot for North Korea. China is the only country that can exert influence with the “fat crazy kid” as John McCain likes to call the dictator of North Korea.

  3. According to Market Watch each tomahawk costs between $1M and $1.4M with the raid totaling $70M. Yahoo finance puts the cost at $1.59M each and $93.8M for the raid. Replacement cost total could be more as the newer versions of the weapon are more expensive.

    1. What I heard was from one of the Pentagon reporters of the networks. Other sites mention $1M to $1.5M. The new missiles will be upgraded with programmable targeting of coordinates while in flight, while existing ones have to have coordinates programed before launching. I sure hope the new missiles computer systems can’t be hacked. I hate to think what could happen with that.

    1. Ask the Yazidis people, especially the women, about those “marauding men”. Unbelievable amount of genocide and crimes against those people by the Islamic State. There are times when war is the only answer.

  4. There are good wars and bad wars. WWII was an absolute necessity. All of the wars since then have been more about politics and money than any humanitarian concerns. There have been around 250 military incursions since WWII. The US has been involved in over 200 of those incidents. The total chaos that is the middle east probably would not exist today had it not been for the Bush family protecting their Saudi oil buddies (the 3rd largest military spenders on Earth, Russia is 4th) from being overthrown, while going after Saddam’s oil thus disrupting the balance of power that led to ISIS. If the so-called global terrorists’ goal is to disrupt and change ‘our way of life’ as some people claim, then the terrorists have already won. The fear of terrorism promulgated by the ‘if it bleeds it leads’ mantra of our profit hungry corporate media system is causing our country to devolve into a police state. Our freedoms are slowly being eroded away, our borders becoming citadels rather than gates, all in the name of the ‘global war on terror.’ We spend more on our military than the next seven largest spenders combined. Trump wants to up the ante another $54B; enough to provide a free college education to every student for decades. A survey of 66 countries asked “which country represents the greatest threat to world peace?” Twenty-four percent of countries named the United States of America. Pakistan was second at eight percent.

    1. Preaching to the choir Joe. This country has its fingerprints all over that mess in Syria and Iraq. I am no cheerleader for Amerika’s foreign policy or the military industrial complex, and there is massive human suffering in the Middle East because of our meddling. My position is back up the Syrian Democratic Forces, and let the locals decide how to govern after Daesh has been sent into the dirt. If we really want peace to be possible in the Middle East, America needs to support the democratic movement in Syria called Rojava and accept the fact Sykes-Picot was a Western imperialist disaster, allow Syria to become a republic with regions being self governing. We messed that place up big time, it is our responsibility to help fix it.
      These people will do the fighting, no need to have US troops on the frontlines, but they do need support.

  5. Seems to me that tRump told Obama to stay out of Syria. This reminds me of the archtypical “do as I say not as I do” mantra 45 and his lemmings love to screech about.

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