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Chemical Experts Begin Destroying Syria's Chemical Arsenal

timothy posted about a year ago | from the time-to-go dept.

Government 86

An anonymous reader writes "The joint team of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN said here that the process of destroying Syria's chemical weapons programme began on Sunday." Of note, this linked article on how to destroy the chemical agents safely.

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CHEMICAL THIS !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057001)

First Post # 100 !!

excellent! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057037)

and now Assad can go back to murdering civilians using more conventional means! it's a win-win!

Re:excellent! (3, Insightful)

macson_g (1551397) | about a year ago | (#45057049)

Using drones seems to be the only acceptable way of killing civilians these days.

Re:excellent! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057187)

1. Assist overthrowing a foreign government by whatever means (sell weapons, train militia, etc)
2. Install a dictator based on some underhanded incentive deal made with said dictator
3. Then assassinate that dictator for not doing what he was told
4. ??
5. Profit!

Re:excellent! (5, Insightful)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about a year ago | (#45057211)

4. ??

4. Get campaign contributions from stakeholders of large defense contractors in exchange for awarding them bloated contracts for weapons we don't need.
4a. Blow shit up using weapons we paid way too much for.
4b. Get campaign contributions from stakeholder of large contracting companies in exchange for awarding them bloated contracts to rebuild the country that we blew up.

5. Profit!

Re:excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45060297)

I know you intend sarcasm, but wars and other conflicts are conducted with a set of rules and conventions as arbitrary as those of football or baseball. Unfortunately the rules are set by the biggest guys in the room so weapons available to the technologically advanced like drones are acceptable but ones perhaps useful to smaller poorer participants are discouraged. In any case the fact that we can't eliminate drone attacks doesn't mean we should accept chemical attacks.

Re:excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108295)

You know this effort to destroy these chemical weapons is a conspiracy by the drone manufactures.

Re:excellent! (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45057159)

He gets to hold back the foreign take over by US backed "freedom fighters".
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10311007/Syria-nearly-half-rebel-fighters-are-jihadists-or-hardline-Islamists-says-IHS-Janes-report.html [telegraph.co.uk]
Same nice crew now in Libya :)

Re:excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057295)

He gets to hold back the foreign take over by US backed "freedom fighters".

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10311007/Syria-nearly-half-rebel-fighters-are-jihadists-or-hardline-Islamists-says-IHS-Janes-report.html [telegraph.co.uk]

Same nice crew now in Libya :)

'Merica was going to free the shit out of them

Re:excellent! (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#45057551)

Which is why all I can figure is Obama and pals must have gotten some really big checks from the MIC as it makes ZERO sense for the USA to get involved here, just as it made zero sense to do anything in Libya. There really ain't ANY "good guys" here, on the one hand you have a bloody dictator, on the other militant jihadists that will turn the country into another terrorist haven, so we really need to stay the hell out of the whole thing.

The only other way i could see it making any sense is if the crazy birther bunch was right and Obama really was a Muslim, since the Hadiths make it clear the goal of every Muslim is to make Sharia the law of the entire planet. I find it more likely that he just cashed the checks like every other politician that has stirred up shit in the third world.

Re:excellent! (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about a year ago | (#45058129)

The US appears to be staying out of the Syria mess. When Obama asked for approval from Congress for military action and took public opinion into the decision making process he effectively handed the whole mess over to Russia and in some small part China as well. He could have ordered the attack using his presidential authority and was not required to get Congressional approval for a military strike. He also appears to be trying to improve the US-Iranian relations regardless of what the other countries in the region want. The US is notorious for turning a blind eye to the actions of a country defined as a "US friendly country". However if the country is defined as an "US enemy" the US will do anything to undermine everything the "US enemy" does.

Re:excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45058325)

Zero sense? It makes perfect sense. When we have China and Russia trading oil outside the worlds reserve currency, it is extremely important to your quality of life for them to install a central bank in Syria that will remain in debt to the IMF and force them to sell their resources in dollars propping up our failing economy a little bit longer. I figured this was world politics 101. Either allow us to control and enslave your people through our own monetary fiat control program or risk being bombed. Iraq is done. Libya is done. Syria is next and then Iran. Certainly you can see a pattern here. The best part is the owners of the Federal Reserve and the IMF really don't care if America succeeds. They will be just as happy to see China succeed in their plan to remove the dollar from reserve status.

Re:excellent! (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#45062711)

This seems to be deliberate a move to replace secular governments with religious fanatics, although I really don't understand the point. Iraq, Libya, Egypt (yes, the military has taken over, but they haven't removed any of the religious rules put in place), and now Syria. I'd be very nervous if I lived in Turkey or Jordan now, they're the only non-theocracies left in the region (although Jordan is probably safe, since they bow and kiss the ground every time Israel looks their general direction.)

Re:excellent! (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about a year ago | (#45057177)

If you were Syrian would you root for your oppressive regime, radical opposition to that regime, or a completely foreign superpower who did so well in restoring democracy in iraq?
I'd probably put a sign out of the house saying "Whatever color you are, enter here to win! Prize: bullet to the head"

Re:excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057363)

The working solution is that everyone sane gets the fuck out of there and starts a new life elsewhere.
People with children are usually the first to move. Staying means that the children will grow up either in a brutal dictatorship or in a "liberated" nation full of minefields.
It's better to live relatively safe in a place where the worst thing that can happen is being spat on by some retard shouting "ERMARGERD! THAY R TAYKIN ORE JABS!"

Re:excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057233)

Now Obama will have to find a different excuse to bomb I mean free the shit out of Syria.

Re:excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057265)

Well Duhhhh. But come'on seriously? How's he expected to stage a terrorist attack in the US if his Government has been shut down down on him. And to all those short sighted Republicans that didn't think it through, shove that in your pipe and smoke it!

Re:excellent! (1)

advocate_one (662832) | about a year ago | (#45057277)

no, he'll just claim there's some been hidden and held back... it should really be up to HIM to prove that the weapons have been held back and not made available for destruction...

Re:excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057257)

It's not only Assad "murdering civilians". It's also US, together with Saudis, and other shitty countries in the region that are funding Al Qaeda terrorists that are killing innocent people.

Re:excellent! (2)

bluegutang (2814641) | about a year ago | (#45057271)

One of the major objections to intervening against Assad was that the state might collapse and chemical weapons would be seized by non-government groups including terrorists.

If this chemical weapon destruction is successful and complete (a big if), then it will be less complicated to intervene in Syria in the future.

Re:excellent! (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45058013)

Anyone who supports the death penalty supports governments killing their own citizens. I'm not saying that's you, I'm just saying there are some mighty fragile glass houses around in the U.S.

Good luck (3, Informative)

GrandCow (229565) | about a year ago | (#45057051)

Sadly there will always be some doubt that there's still a hidden cache of it somewhere, just waiting for the day.

Re:Good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057097)

Then the next GWB will have a reason to invade, thus the military contractors are happy.

Re:Good luck (0)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#45057361)

Then the next GWB will have a reason to invade, thus the military contractors are happy.

Careful now, the next GWB is still in office. Or, should I say 'the next RBC'.

Re:Good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45062665)

Royal Bank of Canada?

Re:Good luck (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057515)

The cucrent Emperor Bush the Third tried and failed. He's not as competent as the previous two Bushes.

Re:Good luck (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45057423)

Sadly there will always be some doubt that there's still a hidden cache of it somewhere, just waiting for the day.

I'm sure that there are clever mechanisms for extending the shelf life (probably purchased from Hostess Snack Cakes' military contracting arm); but chemical weapons don't always store well. Shit-grade Sarin can be good for as little as a couple of weeks on the shelf. Hiqh quality binary munitions might actually be worth burying for future use.

Some of the more retro agents keep better (some of the WWII-and-before sulfur mustards we dumped into the ocean as our foolproof disposal plan formed these neat clumps that are inert on the outside but still have a delicious toxiny filling...), and I certainly wouldn't volunteer to be the lucky guy who gets to scrub out even 'degraded' sarin; but it's not nearly as easy as just putting the stuff on the shelf and expecting it work a decade from now (the storage vices of any delivery components, rocket motors, guidance systems with oddball proprietary batteries, artillery shells with corrosive propellants, whatever, are an additional nuisance, if a much better understood one).

Re:Good luck (1)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | about a year ago | (#45061935)

Sadly there will always be some doubt that there's still a hidden cache of it somewhere, just waiting for the day.

Yeah, that fact is not being disputed.

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]
"The United States ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention which came into force in April 1997. This banned the possession of most types of chemical weapons"

"According to the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency by January, 2012, the United States had destroyed 89.75% of the original stockpile of nearly 31,100 metric tons (30,609 long tons) of nerve and mustard agents declared in 1997."

So when are the US going to destroy the rest of their stockpiles of chemical weapons? If my arithmetic is correct they are still sitting on 3,187.75 metric tons of the stuff.

Re:Good luck (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#45062807)

Notice the "declared in 1997", as well. No way in hell that the Pentagram declared all of their stocks, and it's almost impossible to believe that they haven't made/acquired more since. Remember what they did when President Clinton told them to stop all work on biological weapons? They changed the program's name and moved the budget to another column. Didn't even bother to move it to a new facility. That was a direct order from their supposed Commander In Chief, not an international body.

Re:Good luck (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | about a year ago | (#45063755)

It appears that you can do arithmetic, so it shouldn't be hard to figure out approximately how much longer it will take.

Re:Good luck (1)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | about a year ago | (#45067223)

Yeah: about 3 months ago they should have been done.

Re:Good luck (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about a year ago | (#45058105)

Sadly there will always be some doubt that there's still a hidden cache of it somewhere, just waiting for the day.

I'm sure some people will think that way, and the issue will come up with the next chemical attack. The main error there is to think in terms of principle (1 sarin rocket is enough) instead of amounts(how militarily significant is the remaining stock). Part of the campaign on Iraq was with obfuscating that difference. Scott Ritter's analysis before the war was just about that: if there's anything left, would it still be significant on the battlefield. And the answer was no.
Quantities matter a lot with chemical weapons. It's not some kind of treasure where you try and keep one behind.

Re:Good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45060703)

Another problem is that it takes a little chemistry knowhow applied to pesticides or industrial solvents, and you can easily be back to square one. Chemical weapons are probably the easiest to obtain materials for (and via legal channels) of all the WMD. (The reason we likely don't see terrorists use them much is process and materials handling isn't exactly easy - more hazardous to yourself if you're stupid about it, and there's often a limited shelf life.)

Self congratulatory piffle (1)

undulato (2146486) | about a year ago | (#45057087)

Stopping people make and/or deploying chemical weapons = good. Destroying chemical weapon stockpiles after a well publicised atrocity and somehow selling it as a victory = disingenuous.

Re:Self congratulatory piffle (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#45057353)

Stopping people make and/or deploying chemical weapons = good.

So they can't hurt innocent people?

Destroying chemical weapon stockpiles after a well publicised atrocity and somehow selling it as a victory = disingenuous.

So they can't hurt more innocent people?

Re:Self congratulatory piffle (2)

Crosshair84 (2598247) | about a year ago | (#45058697)

I still have not seen convincing evidence that it was the Assad government that did this. The "attack" was in an area of no importance and Syrian military was not in a position to exploit the attack. I find the claims that it was the rebel fighters mishandling chemical weapons or artillery hit a store of industrial chemicals to be quite convincing given the limited information available. I don't know either way.

Re:Self congratulatory piffle (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#45062827)

Besides which, when the UN inspectors were escorted onto the site by Syrian military they had to withdraw because of excessive sniper fire. It wasn't the Syrians who wanted to prevent them from a timely inspection.

Re:Self congratulatory piffle (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#45060057)

how about supply a despot with equipment and billions of dollars to make them, and watching while he gasses Iranians and Kurds, and then continuing to do business with him as our bestest pal? is that good too?

how about giving a country white phosphoruos bombs to dump on babies and mothers, is that also chemical weapon and goodness too?

Nuke it from the orbit (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#45057095)

...it's the only way to be sure. Actually, in this case, Soviet Russia [wikipedia.org] concurs with Yelena Ripleyova, so the memes are teamed up for this!

By Destroying we mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057135)

Selling

Jolly Good. (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#45057251)

They'll be dragging him off to the Hague now, will they?

Re:Jolly Good. (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45057433)

Dude, getting sent to the Hague is for losers. As best I can tell, Mr. Assad is still in the 'doing a pretty good job hanging on to his office, thanks' camp, which enjoys near-impunity by virtue of an international consensus of, um, all the people who are doing a pretty good job hanging on to their offices, thanks...

Re:Jolly Good. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year ago | (#45064775)

Who "they"?

So when are they going after the Israeli WMD's? (-1, Troll)

advocate_one (662832) | about a year ago | (#45057287)

just thought I'd like to toss that out there... those tosspots have got some 400 plus nukes at hand...

Re:So when are they going after the Israeli WMD's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057321)

Yeah because obviously each time the Middle East is brought up ISRAEL.

Of course everyone in Israel is a toss pot and they have more nukes than the UK, France and China put together too, thanks for that contribution.

In fact, thank you in general for your inciteful post.

No that wasn't a typo.

Re:So when are they going after the Israeli WMD's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057345)

Please site your source for 'some 400'.

Has Israel ever used WMDs?
Have they threatened other nations or parties with their nukes?

Re:So when are they going after the Israeli WMD's? (3, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45057667)

just thought I'd like to toss that out there... those tosspots have got some 400 plus nukes at hand...

Among the causes of action against Saddam in Iraq was that he was a ruthless dictator that used chemical weapons to attack his own people.

Among the causes of action against Assad in Syria is that he is a ruthless dictator that used chemical weapons to attack his own people.

Israel is a parliamentary democracy that isn't nuking their own people.

Maybe I'll just toss this [nytimes.com] out there. If the shoe fits ...

Re:So when are they going after the Israeli WMD's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45058253)

Among the causes of action against Saddam in Iraq was that he was a ruthless dictator that used chemical weapons to attack his own people.
Among the causes of action against Assad in Syria is that he is a ruthless dictator that used chemical weapons to attack his own people.
Israel is a parliamentary democracy that isn't nuking their own people.

I like how you switched from "chemical weapons" to "nuking" when switching from Syria to the racist Apartheid state. Is that because you hoped no one would remember Israel using copious amounts of phosphorous on Gaza, a chemical weapon that burns straight through the body?

Maybe I'll just toss this [nytimes.com] out there. If the shoe fits ...

If you're a hypocritical ethnic cleansing fuckstick with zero self awareness or shame...

Re:So when are they going after the Israeli WMD's? (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45058401)

I was responding to the original post which asked about WMDs. Both chemical weapons and nuclear weapons are WMDs. White phosphorous is not considered a chemical weapon, it is an incendiary weapon, and not a WMD.

Israel -- an Apartheid State? [nationalreview.com]

You seem to have an excess of "political awareness" formed by indoctrination tinged with what is a growing vice on the Left. As I indicated, if the shoe fits....

Re:So when are they going after the Israeli WMD's? (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year ago | (#45094955)

Israel -- an Apartheid State?

Even Israelis admit [wikipedia.org] it it's Apartheid.

As I indicated, if the shoe fits....

Cowardly demagoguery, whether it's coming out of the mouths of Zionists crying about the anti-semetic wolf, or Rush Limbaugh.

Re:So when are they going after the Israeli WMD's? (1)

tibman (623933) | about a year ago | (#45064035)

It's illegal to use WP as a weapon. But you can use it to make smoke and provide illumination. It looks to me like Israel used it as a weapon. They have never denied using it and they have promised to not use it again. I'd say that's a lot better than lying about it and continuing to use it.

Re:So when are they going after the Israeli WMD's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45059557)

Among the causes of action against Assad in Syria is that he is a ruthless dictator that used chemical weapons to attack his own people.

As far as I can see there is no proof that Assad or his army are directly responsible for the use of chemical weapons. Some sources even claim that the rebels themselves are responsible [mintpressnews.com] .

US are also 'destroying' their chemical weapons! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057313)

However, we have been at it for about 20 years, and have not yet finished the building where we are going to do it.

At this rate it will take us about a century to destroy ours. I bet Syria can do it much quicker, and I wonder why?

Re:US are also 'destroying' their chemical weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057325)

we have been at it for about 20 years

Sorry. 33 years. I was just estimating from memory...

Re:US are also 'destroying' their chemical weapons (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45057461)

It wouldn't entirely surprise me if good, old-fashioned, violence is one way of removing NIMBY elements(What do you mean 'your' back yard, citizen?) and generally smoothing over fears about the quality and completeness of destruction (the level at which something becomes useless as a chemical weapon is substantially higher than the level where I'd want it in my drinking water...)

Probably doesn't hurt that both the US and Russia have spent all those years dicking around with procedures and refinements for destroying their own chemical munitions. That makes the tech for doing so practically off-the-shelf, rather than R&D.

as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (2, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#45057409)

this is despite the many cynical posts ive seen so far excellent progress. the civil war in Syria is complex, with numerous parties standing to profit from the downfall of the government (including the United States.)

not going to war was good. Once again America had no credible, publically audited evidence to support its war. that the government used chemical weapons at all was suspicious at best, and unresearched in the UN report.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24130181 [bbc.co.uk]
the analysis includes relevant information about rebel captured syrian weapons depots as well, which would in fact arm rebels with nerve agent.

Instead of putting the brakes on the war machine, the california senator Barbara Boxer simply insisted she'd seen the evidence and declared it very very bad. Russia presented its evidence to the UN.
but perhaps the most damning hypocrisy is that the united states routinely uses chemical weapons in its warfare. in vietnam, and both iraq wars, white phosphorous was used liberally and without regard for the Hague conventions.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057581)

Look I'm all for the solution we've now reached but the evidence was pretty solid that the Syrian government committed the atrocity.

As for "Russia presented its evidence to the UN.", no it really didn't. It said it was going to present it's evidence to the UN which turned out to be nothing more than a bunch of opinions. Compare and contrast that to evidence from western nations and independent researchers alike who have released information openly and it's pretty damning.

I don't know how one can really side with Russia's closed accusations, the demonstrably doctored videos and so forth that supposedly showed the launch, the delay in letting the inspectors out there and so forth. It's pathetic. Russia could tell you anything and you'd believe it.

Not striking seems to be a reasonable option, but if your reasons for supporting it are "Russia said!" and "But America has used them in the past too!" then you're supporting it for the wrong reasons.

You may want to read the very article you linked all over again, because you seem to have pulled out a very small section of it and come to a conclusion based on that without reading the entire article and accompanying links.

You talk about publicly auditable and then you ignore the plethora of evidence from a variety of sources including from even extremely objective nations on the issue like some of those in South America and India that explains exactly why it's almost certain Assad was responsible and then you take the closed evidence from Russia which no one's sure even exists because we've never actually seen it and only heard them talk about it. We've just seen bullshit statements like in this news article which no evidence actually seemed to surface from:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/18/russia-syrian-rebels-chemical-weapons [theguardian.com]

Don't pretend you like to base your understanding on facts and evidence when you're ignoring the facts and evidence and feeding straight into bullshit with no evidence to back it up.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (-1, Flamebait)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#45057739)

[huge propounding of completely baseless accusations of Syrian government use of chemical weapons]

So in other words, you can't produce a single citation of substance, or iota of real evidence. Don't feel bad. The US government couldn't either.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45057793)

oooooh you mean like that colin powel's speech at the UN Security Council where your inteligence experts produced some power points and flash animations showing sadam's WMD factory trucks... The United States cryed wolf once... so it's only natural that any claim in that regard produced afterwards by their/your inteligence is viewed with mistrust...

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (1)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#45060765)

My apologies...your citation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Ghouta_attacks#Government_attack [wikipedia.org]

A Russian defense expert said that the code found by the UN investigators on the M-14 munition showed it had been produced in 1967 by a factory in Novosibirsk for a BM-14-17 multiple rocket launcher. He said that these weapons had been taken out of service by Syria some time ago, and replaced with BM-21s, and suggested that "the insurgents could have found this ancient junk after capturing some military storage depot.".[141] Journalist Robert Fisk said that it was rumoured in Damascus that the unpublished Russian evidence included export papers for these missiles showing that they had been sold to South Yemen, Egypt, and Libya. Fisk noted that since the fall of Ghaddafi in 2011 Libyan weapons have been found in Mali, Algeria and the Sinai, and that the Syrian government had long alleged that Qatar, which supported the rebels against Ghaddafi, had helped ship weapons from Libya to Syria.[142] The OPCW said in September 2011 that Libya's chemical weapons stockpiles had remained secure since February 2011, when its inspectors had to leave due to the Libyan civil war.[143] Libya's declaration to the OPCW of chemical weapons to be destroyed did not include sarin, although it did include sarin precursors.

Solid as in aluminum tubes or mushroom clouds? (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year ago | (#45094835)

Look I'm all for the solution we've now reached but the evidence was pretty solid that the Syrian government committed the atrocity

It's like Americans learned nothing, not a damned thing from the Iraq invasion. At least Bush presented actual evidence that Saddam was pursuing chemical and nuclear weapons. The evidence was made up shit, but it was presented.

Obama hasn't bothered to even go that far. He just makes assertions in a serious sounding voice and people believe him.

I don't know how one can really side with Russia's closed accusations, the demonstrably doctored videos and so forth that supposedly showed the launch, the delay in letting the inspectors out there and so forth. It's pathetic. Russia could tell you anything and you'd believe it.

As opposed to trusting Israel's audio surveillance when they admitted [maxblumenthal.com] to doctoring audio from their assault on the freedom flotilla all of three years ago? Now, you were saying something about being pathetic?

Don't pretend you like to base your understanding on facts and evidence when you're ignoring the facts and evidence and feeding straight into bullshit with no evidence to back it up.

You first.

White House: Irrefutable Assad link to gas attack lacking, but passes 'common-sense test' [foxnews.com]

The White House asserted Sunday that a "common-sense test" dictates the Syrian government is responsible for a chemical weapons attack that President Barack Obama says demands a U.S. military response. But Obama's top aide says the administration lacks "irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence" that skeptical Americans, including lawmakers who will start voting on military action this week, are seeking.

Do tell us how it's "common sense" that Assad used chemical weapons now when he is winning the war, rather than last year when foreign-armed fighters and rebels were driving back his military.

Do tell us that it would have been "common sense" for Assad to order the use of chemical weapons the day that chemical weapons inspectors arrived.

Do tell us why it would make sense to use chemical weapons in his own capital city, close by his own forces.

Do tell us why he would use chemical weapons when Obama has made it very clear for a year or so now that he would dearly love to bomb Assad, not just arm Al Qaeda rebels, and that the use of CW's would give Obama the excuse to do so.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45057695)

There was no doubt that chemical weapons were used in Syria, there were moments of doubt about exactly who used them. That issue is behind us.

White phosphorus isn't considered a chemical weapon, it is an incendiary weapon. As to Vietnam, the US only used the equivalent of weed killer to thin out the jungle, and some tear gas, and that's it. The US didn't use lethal chemical weapons in Vietnam.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45058381)

As to Vietnam, the US only used the equivalent of weed killer to thin out the jungle, and some tear gas, and that's it. The US didn't use lethal chemical weapons in Vietnam.

That has to be the biggest pile of BS I have ever read. Did you learn your history from LaLaLand? Do you even know about Agent Orange the huge number of people it has affected? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_Orange

Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects as a result of the use of contaminated batches[2] of the compound. The Red Cross of Vietnam estimates that up to 1 million people are disabled or have health problems due to Agent Orange. The United States government has challenged these figures as being unreliable and unrealistically high.

Note the US does not dispute the fact people were killed due to their spraying of "weed killer", just the number that died.

Many experts at the time, including Arthur Galston, the biologist who developed and intensively studied 2,4,5-T and TCDD, opposed herbicidal warfare, due to concerns about the side effects to humans and the environment by indiscriminately spraying the chemical over a wide area. As early as 1966, resolutions were introduced to the United Nations charging that the U.S. was violating the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which regulated the use of chemical and biological weapons.

The US only hear what it wants to hear and is just a school yard bully on a world stage.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45058621)

You should read further. What made Agent Orange as dangerous as it was wasn't the herbicide itself, but the contamination with dioxin.

UN resolutions don't change treaty text.

Activists often only hear what they want to hear. The US has fought the actual bullies on the world stage to hold them in check. Activists often seem to approve of many of the bullies due to their politics. Saddam invades Kuwait - no problem. The US forms a multinational coalition to remove Saddam from Kuwait - oh horror! North Vietnam invades South Vietnam - no problem. The US forms a multinational coalition to defend South Vietnam - oh horror! The Soviet Union moves nuclear missiles into Europe - no problem. The US deploys nuclear missiles to Western Europe to help defend NATO - oh horror! It is the same story over and over.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#45061489)

Nobody I know was thrilled that Iraq invaded Kuwait, but that was a dispute between those two parties. Many were behind the coalition efforts to free Kuwait. A few objected to the cost and a few felt we should stay the hell out of it.

Many more objected to GWB's attack on Iraq without actual provocation. Some on moral grounds, many on financial grounds. We sure could have found a better way to spend those trillions and I have yet to see how anyone but military contractors, Halliburton and GWB's ego have benefited.

Many weren't thrilled about North Vietnam either, but were quite opposed to the U.S. getting itself involved in that quagmire. They didn't protest here over North Vietnam because until the U.S. stepped in it (in every sense of the phrase), the U.S. government hadn't done anything wrong. Why do you see that as somehow inappropriate?

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45066111)

In 1954 Eisenhower was certain that 80% of the population would vote Communist in an election. South Vietnam imprisoned, tortured and executed people accused of "communist activities" whether they were Communist or not. Many South Vietnamese were opposed to their government. The subsequent civil war and insurgency was waged by South Vietnamese. In 1961, the U.S. and the government of South Vietnam began herding rural peasants into concentration camps called "Strategic Hamlets" and the U.S. began bombing the countryside. Self-declared (in 1955) President of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, who had previously dedicated South Vietnam to the Virgin Mary, began massively oppressing the Buddhist majority causing still more discontent. The Viet Cong were strong in the countryside because they were popular. Then came the Gulf of Tonkin incident. As a fan of No Such Agency, you should surely be aware of the declassified NSA document that reveals that there was no attack on American ships at all. You know the rest.

The U.S. actions in Vietnam were morally wrong from the outset. Therefore, the U.S. is culpable for the damage caused by Agent Orange, contaminated or not.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45058417)

So it would have been fine if Assad was using Agent Orange on the Syrian population? Other dictators should take note.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45058647)

If he wanted to possibly kill them in 20-40 years, maybe. That is assuming that he could find some that was contaminated with dioxin, which is what made Agent Orange dangerous.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#45061035)

the issue is not behind us, the lies of the war mongering Nobel Peace Prize winner need addressed. his arming of Al Qaeda and affiliates.

White phosphorous produces toxic fumes that can maim and kill, sometimes days later. here are some words from the CDC for you: "Systemic toxicity from white phosphorus exposure is classically divided into 3 phases. The first phase, the gastrointestinal phase, occurs a few minutes to 8 hours following white phosphorus exposure. Shock during this phase may be severe enough to cause death in 24 to 48 hours. The second phase, the asymptomatic phase, follows the first phase and lasts for 8 hours to 3 days. The third phase, the multi-organ failure and central nervous system injury phase, may begin 4 to 8 days after the second phase begins, and may end in death. "

How is that NOT a chemical weapon?

As to Vietnam, Agent Orange caused horrific documented defects in humans and cattle. It was used to destroy crops to drive our *allies* to the cities under our control, and so caused the death by starvation of hundreds of thousands.

you are a shill for pure evil.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year ago | (#45094651)

White phosphorus isn't considered a chemical weapon, it is an incendiary weapon. As to Vietnam, the US only used the equivalent of weed killer to thin out the jungle, and some tear gas, and that's it. The US didn't use lethal chemical weapons in Vietnam.

So when we use chemical compounds that kill and maim and cause birth defects for generations, they aren't "chemical weapons". That's only the bad guys, who aren't using the same chemical compounds, so they are chemical weapons. Typical hypocritical hackery.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#45057699)

Barbara Boxer simply insisted she'd seen the evidence and declared it very very bad

She was right. The evidence was very poor.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45058441)

A lot of people will not believe the Syrian government used chemical weapons unless there is a picture of Assad holding a newspaper printed on the day of the attack and pulling the trigger or lanyard firing the weapon. Of course there are a lot of people who would just claim the picture was false so they would not have to admit their arguments and denials are still valid. The WMD issue was just one of about 20 different reasons for the US to go after Iraq again. Iraq signed a surrender document at the end of the first Iraq war and basically ignored the terms of surrender. That's not surprising considering the number of countries who also violated the terms of the surrender by circumventing the "Oil for Food" program. When a war ends and one side agrees to the terms of the surrender and fails to honor those terms the resumption of hostilities is warranted. I personally believe the US should not have gone to war with Iraq or even Afghanistan outside of spec op missions. However if you do not enforce the terms of a surrender it becomes easy for the country losing the war to surrender to any terms without worrying about being held to account. And Saddam Hussein went out of his way to make the world think he did have WMD's which would make it's enemies think twice about attacking him. Even some of his Generals honestly believed he did have WMD's.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#45058163)

Not arguing FOR the war, but on the suspicions about chemical weapons, remember that truth is the first casualty of war. With something like the chemical weapons attacks, there never would be any solid evidence obtained from the middle of a war zone. The fact the government allowed such a situation to develop, whether they were the ones who used it or whether, say, Islamic cultists stole the weapons and used them against secular rebels... that still seems like a situation where some outside force would have a justification to enter and try to prevent it from happening again. It should be the UN, but of course Russia prevented that in order to continue having a monopoly in Europe on natural gas.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45058541)

not going to war was good.

At least not while Syria got chemical weapons.

But after those weapons were destroyed? THAT'S a good time to invade Syria, and the non-existent "missing" chemical weapons that Syria cannot longer bring out to be destroyed will make a good enough excuse.

Want an example? Look at what happened in Iraq before it got invaded.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (1)

budgenator (254554) | about a year ago | (#45061387)

Why do you assume that any of the Hague conventions, especially any protocols that the US is party to applies to white phosphorus?

The 1980 Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons deals specifically with the Use of Incendiary Weapons, and their use against civilians. The United States is not a party to this Protocol. ...
Paragraph 1 of Article 2 states that the civilian population as such and individual civilians or civilian objects may not be made the object of attack with incendiary weapons -- a principle that applies to all weapons under customary international law. Paragraph 2 prohibits making of any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by air-delivered incendiary weapons, such as napalm. This paragraph does not restrict the use of other types of incendiary weapons, such as White Phosphorus delivered by artillery. Paragraph 3 prohibits uses of incendiaries against military objectives located within concentrations of civilians, except when the target is clearly separated from the concentration of civilians and all feasible precautions are taken to limit the incendiary effects to the targe and minimize civilian casualties. Legal Status of Incendiary Weapons [globalsecurity.org]

As far as Viet Nam goes the only chemical weapon we used there was good old tear gas, CS, the same stuff we use as a riot control agent all over the world. CS is kind of like eating hot peppers, once you've been exposed a couple times it hardy bothers you any more, I used to setup the gas chamber bare-faced for our mask confidence drills.

Re:as an american, im glad we didnt go to war. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45061637)

I too am pleasantly shocked that we didn't go to war.

Is this going to be like the surface? (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#45057523)

Almost sold out!

Almost all chemical weapons destroyed!

But But But... (2)

fredrated (639554) | about a year ago | (#45057709)

Without bombing and strafing and killing, something just doesn't seem right! No good can come of this.

A good firm message (1)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about a year ago | (#45057711)


Let's face it, europeans complain of the inhumanity but are not willing to do something about it. The bitch and moan that the US is the world police but of course are shocked that the US will not bankroll an expedition to liberate Syria.

No with a US that has bark but no bite due to the Russian/Chinese muzzle we can just nod and smile as the only solution remaining was achieved. The solution?
The line that cannot be crossed was trampled so in response we'll tell them they were naughty and take away some of their toys.

The hardline message; Just use some chemical weapons and give them up later. (Hide some for emergency use of course)

This is a rather impressive own goal for the US/UK after the hard talk proves to be hot air.

Re:A good firm message (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#45058031)

The bitch and moan that the US is the world police but of course are shocked that the US will not bankroll an expedition to liberate Syria.

You use that word, but I do not think it means what you think it means...

Re:A good firm message (1)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about a year ago | (#45058075)

The question is, how did I mean it? ;-)

Re:A good firm message (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#45059387)

not the US problem or concern. there are terrorists on both sides. chemical weapons not illegal, there is a treaty about them but Syria not a party.

Meanwhile; in one of it's neighboring countries: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45058875)

A new biological weapons plant was erected.

There will never be peace with them, there never has been.

be sure to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45058917)

...thoroughly scratch those "Made in Iraq" labels off as well.

Israel AND the U.S MUST DO THE SAME (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45067471)

Israel AND the U.S MUST DO THE SAME as these are the two main opposing countries instigating this move. If there ever IS a war and a stray bomb should accidentally hit anyone of these two countries VAST STOCK PILE of CHEMICAL & NUCLEAR WARHEADS (Israel & the U.S – together holds the biggest and most deadliest nuclear weaponry stockpile in the world) THERE GOES OUR WORLD ! As a concerned citizen I would definitely like to see these two countries get the overall investigation badly needed for the world’s sake. It is well known the tyranny these two countries (Israel & U.S.) impose on other countries, and it is well documented the tyranny they impose on their own people. So please be aware that while ALL eyes are focused on this destroying another county’s defense mechanism against these two opposing bullies that they are bringing into foreplay an actual replay of the Iraq scenario. So heaven help us!

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