Wednesday, September 18, 2013

An Interesting Historical Tidbit About Syria and Chemical Weapons

Trey Smith

Journalists are trained to write utilizing the pyramid style (e.g., the most important info at the top). The reason for this is that studies show that most readers rarely make it past the 3rd or 4th paragraph! If a reporter does not include the critical who/what/when/where at the top of the article, most readers will walk away not knowing this pertinent information.

One reason why I like to read or, at least, scan the entirety of an article is that you can often find critical tidbits of information below the fold or in the continued story on page 6. It is sad to say -- in today's modern mainstream journalism -- that often some of the most critical facts and observations are near or at the end of an article, not the beginning. This tack tends to expose the reporter's, editor's and/or publication's biases.


One thing I have been wondering about lately is: Why does Syria possess chemical weapons in the first place? I found the answer in an article at CounterPunch written by an Israeli peace activist, Uri Avnery.
It should be remembered why [Assad's] father produced this gas in the first place. He believed that Israel was developing nuclear weapons. Not being able to aspire to such expensive and technically advanced devices himself, he settled for much cheaper chemical and biological weapons as a deterrent. According to a secret 1982 CIA report, Israel was producing such weapons itself.
It turns out that the previous Syrian leader's suspicions were correct. Israel -- with the aid of the US -- indeed possesses nuclear weapons. So, in a manner of speaking, Israel and the US are responsible for the chemical weapons we now say must be destroyed! Had Israel not gotten into the nuclear weapons biz, then, maybe, the current situation in Syria might never have occurred. There would have been no need to speak about a "red line."

It is the omission by the US government and the mainstream media of this particular chain of events that amounts to a disservice to the American people. While the vast majority of Americans opposed US missile strikes on Syria, their opposition was based on other concerns. Had they known that one of the primary reasons that Syria possesses chemical weapons in the first place leads back to this nation, they may have opposed military aggression on that basis alone.

At least, I hope a significant number of Americans would have the capability of connecting the obvious dots!

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