You can sense it. The gas is escaping from the war balloon.
Too many people understand a strike against Syria carries a massive risk. China has warned us not to do it. Russia has warned us too, and they are backing their warning with war ships. The British are slinking away. The French
have regained their reason on this issue. Congress
is getting antsy.
Not long ago, John Kerry (whom I've long admired) disgraced himself by speaking as though Assad's guilt in the CW attack had been proven with the rigor of a mathematical equation. It took a day or so for everyone to realize that the "proof" was invisible to normal perception.
We weren't even given a straight story as to what the proof consisted of. At first we were told something about an intercepted telephone call involving a Syrian defense official -- as if anyone in the Syrian command structure would talk on the phone about such a thing, knowing full well that the NSA was listening in. Then we were told that the key information came from the Israelis -- who are, of course, hardly disinterested parties.
Cable teevee news has changed its story. Now, the news crawl tells us that we're "still waiting" to learn what happened in that Damascus suburb.
is walking back the certainty:
The intelligence linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack is no "slam dunk," with questions remaining about who actually controls some of Syria's chemical weapons stores and doubts about whether Assad himself ordered the strike, U.S. intelligence officials say.
From the NYT
American officials said Wednesday there was no “smoking gun” that directly links President Bashar al-Assad to the attack, and they tried to lower expectations about the public intelligence presentation. They said it will not contain specific electronic intercepts of communications between Syrian commanders or detailed reporting from spies and sources on the ground.
Perhaps most tellingly, key voices in the conservative media infrastructure -- Limbaugh, Beck, Rand Paul -- have questioned the official line on Syria.
Obama can save face if he backs away from war while muttering something about "possibly faulty intelligence." Right now, that's his best option. The neocons will throw a fit, of course. Good. The world is safer when the neocons fume in frustration.
By the way...
I recommend Robert Fisk's latest
Before the stupidest Western war in the history of the modern world begins – I am, of course, referring to the attack on Syria that we all now have to swallow – it might be as well to say that the Cruise missiles which we confidently expect to sweep onto one of mankind’s oldest cities have absolutely nothing to do with Syria.
They are intended to harm Iran. They are intended to strike at the Islamic Republic now that it has a new and vibrant president – as opposed to the crackpot Mahmoud Ahmedinejad – and when it just might be a little more stable. Iran is Israel’s enemy. Iran is therefore, naturally, America’s enemy.