Nausea, twitching, and convulsions. Severely dilated pupils. Red, tearing eyes. Uncontrollable drooling and runny nose. These are the symptoms of a GB nerve agent attack that I learned at Army Basic Training. I used to have nightmares about the stuff, and they were triggered by every NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) exercise in protective gear. Via CNN, I now get to see my nightmares about contamination and decontamination come to brutal life in Syria. Watching the video above, I can no longer tolerate concern quotes in headlines about this event. What you are seeing here is the aftermath of a regime attack, and anyone who questions that fact is selling you a bridge.
It is not a secret that Syria has had a WMD program for decades and holds large stockpiles of chemical agents. Nor was this attack exactly a surprise, as the timeline of chemical warfare in Syria goes all the way back to July of last year, fifteen months into the conflict. American intelligence agencies first warned that Syria was loading chemical weapons into bombs in early December. Despite denials by the regime that these weapons would be used, by the end of that month the first YouTube videos were posted showing Syrian patients suffering what appear to be the effects of sarin gas (extremely disturbing example here). That same month, the head of Assad’s military police defected to Turkey, where he charged the regime with using sarin gas in Homs. By April, European, American, and Israeli intelligence agencies were reporting the regime had used chemical weapons more than once since December.
Assad’s apologists ask what possible motive Assad could have to use these weapons when he is apparently winning. But he is winning precisely because he has been using chemical weapons. They ask what his motive could be, and the answer is that Bashar al-Assad used sarin on a resisting neighborhood because he thought he could get away with it. Judging by opinion polls, he appears to be correct. Continue reading