Yesterday, the New York Times published an article by David "Judy In Drag" Sanger and his usual suspect Mark Mazzetti which was entirely bereft of content yet was presented as news. The article quoted unameable officials both in the Bush administration and in Israel as saying a recent Israeli attack on Syria was indeed an attack on a nascent nuclear facility.
Of evidence for this assertion, there was none. Nor is there any mention of the opinions of experts who feel it wasn't a strike on a nuclear facility at all and any claims of such coming from Jerusalem or an Undisclosed Location are just so much agitprop. We are, it seems, expected to take the word of anonymous officials who, by previous performance, are most likely named David Addington. Certainly, the meat of the article is all about Cheney's office using these allegations as ammunition for yet another attempt at assassinating diplomacy and increasing the White House's belligerence in foreign policy.
Despite this, folks like Jules Cretinhead are happy to take their "news" as gospel. Jules has been a reporter and editor, and knows how the game is played - so he's indulging in what can only be described as willing gullibility, a suspension of disbelief on a par with clapping for fairies. Why? Well, Jules has some pithy quotes that point the way to the Cheneyite motives:
You know, if they tied a note to the bomb that said, “Next one takes out Damascus,” they might not have to come back.Much of the reaction from what used to be the extreme Right - but is now the mainstream of what remains of the GOP - is similiar in sociopathic tone.
...purely as an academic matter, it would be interesting to see what effect a couple of missiles up the reactor would have on Kim. Kim has not learned the bitter lesson that Syria, Jordan and Egypt learned so well. I wonder how quickly the South Koreans and the USA could shut down all that North Korea artillery and armor if they did decide to fire it up.
I don't believe a word of Sanger and Mazzetti's sockpuppet claims on behalf of the Fourth Branch - but let's just suppose for a second that the story about Israel assessing its target as being a NorK-provided nuclear plant is true. The only named expert in Sanger and Mazzetti's whole fable - Dr. Siegfried S. Hecker of Stanford University - says that "building a reactor based on North Korea’s design might take from three to six years" and, in a hat-tip to the notion of fairness and accuracy in reporting, the article notes:
The officials did not say that the administration had ultimately opposed the Israeli strike, but that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates were particularly concerned about the ramifications of a pre-emptive strike in the absence of an urgent threat.So even if you accept the unprovenanced utterings of anonymous officials with an axe to grind your faced with a very unpleasant story - Israel struck a plant that was possibly legal, way before it could be told whether it was legal or not, in an act of undeclared aggression which by any normal account of international law is a war crime on a par with the invasion of Poland. The folks in the Bush administration, meanwhile, are either looking the other way or trying to spin this nakedly illegal act as somehow justified. And not even left-leaning sorta-hawks like Kevin Drum seem willing to say they see anything seriously amiss with this picture.
“There wasn’t a lot of debate about the evidence,” said one American official familiar with the intense discussions over the summer between Washington and the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel. “There was a lot of debate about how to respond to it.”
Even though it has signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Syria would not have been obligated to declare the existence of a reactor during the early phases of construction. It would have also had the legal right to complete construction of the reactor, as long as its purpose was to generate electricity.
Either the Sanger & Mazzetti channelling of Cheney staffer's agitprop is so much bullsh*t or it's true and therefore an admission of the US condoning a major war crime. Take your pick. But if the latter, then a failure to condemn it makes you just another "Good German".
Update Michael Roston at HuffPo apparently is thinking along the same lines as I am - and has a go at Clinton's voiced support for attacking mythical Syrian nukes.
Senator Clinton supports a military strike based on "what we think we know," and information that hasn't been shared with her to date. Is that the best leadership and decision-making we can expect beyond '08? Will senior Democratic politicians be expressing their regrets for any more votes five more years down the line?
There are people out there with messages to deliver for frightful agendas they hope to advance. That's why we hear with such haughty certitude that Syria has a nuclear program. And if our media and our leaders can't get their heads above all that noise, get ready for a long generation of sorrow.
So listen up, and start paying attention. When you talk about rumors of nuclear threats, from Iran, Syria, or anyone else, you'd better not be playing around. You're either with the facts, or you're against them.