Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Two Reports -- Starkly Different Conclusions

Trey Smith

At this juncture, there seems to be agreement from many sources that chemical weapons exploded in a Damascus suburb last month. The major question that remains is: Who is responsible? 

President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have stated loudly that it was the Assad government and they point to a report released by the White House that is strong on assertions, but lacks any hard documentation.  It basically says that the US intelligence community thinks it happened this way and, as long as they are fairly sure, that's close enough.

But there is another report that paints a completely different picture.  MintPress News -- an organization I have never heard of -- has posted an article, Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack, that states the "attack" was not the result of Syrian government forces.  Unlike the White House report, they actually quote people on the ground in Syria and provide other analysis.

My point is not that the MintPress News reports PROVES that the White House report is wrong, only that it goes to show that the question of responsibility remains up in the air.  In fact, each "report" may be nothing more than two bits of slanted propaganda:  One side pushing for US military action and the other pushing against the same.

As readers know, I tend to be highly skeptical of government pronouncements and I am highly skeptical of their conclusions in terms of Syria.  However, as noted above, I am completely unfamiliar with the MintPress, so I don't know how much credence to give to their report.  For all I know, they could have made up their "interviews" with local people.

But looking at these two reports, at least MintPress provides some rationale for their conclusions, while the White House simply makes a slew of assertions without providing any actual evidence to back them up.

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