As the world watches the goings-on in Syria, one of the most pressing fears is that its stock of chemical weapons might go missing and fall into the wrong hands. Today, we find that our nightmare is coming true. We heard in late August that Syrian rebels claimed to have taken over a base with chemical weapons. Now, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has admitted that some of those weapons have gone missing:
Panetta said that the “main sites” in Syria storing chemical weapons with which the Pentagon is most concerned remain secured by the Syrian military. But there is “some intelligence” that “limited” movements of weapons from other sites have occurred, he said, “for the Syrians to better secure what they – the chemicals.”
Panetta's statement follows reporting that Syrian rebels claim to have taken control of a military base that contains chemical weapons.
“But with regards to the movement of some of this and whether or not they’ve been able to locate some of it,” he said of U.S. intelligence, “we just don’t know.”
However, the story for us doesn't stop there. It just gets worse. Jumping back to late August for a moment, we actually had the capability to take out those weapons:
British special forces, along with troops from France and the United States, are poised along the borders of Syria to secure and destroy the country’s arsenal of chemical weapons if the regime in Damascus collapses.
According to intelligence sources, specialized military units from the three Western allies have been in place for more than a month in Turkey, Israel and Jordan, ready to strike at Syria’s chemical weapon stocks and missile sites.
They would intervene if the weapons were about to be deployed by President Bashar Assad or were in danger of being captured by rebels.
“The personnel are there, the equipment is there, the lift capability is there,” said one intelligence source in the Middle East.
“There are people on the ground (inside Syria) assessing the logistics of landing and securing these sites. Preparations are underway for a mission to secure and destroy these weapons.”
So, we knew where they were at one time and had the capability to act, but we didn't. Sadly, this has become a familiar narrative under the Obama administration.
To complicate things even further for the Obama administration, we have to remember that Obama promised a firmer response to this chemical weapons problem. From the Washington Post on August 21st:
“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus,” Obama said. “That would change my equation. . . . We’re monitoring that situation very carefully. We have put together a range of contingency plans.”
And yet, here we are seeing the truth: what the Obama administration promised was just empty rhetoric.
Even though I lack any concrete evidence, I would like to propose the following theory: there's a chance the Obama administration doesn't really want to find these chemical weapons. Why, you ask? Well, there's the very real possibility that some of them came from Iraq. Perhaps you remember the allegations made by the Iraqi Air Force's second-in-command Gen. Georges Sada's allegations from six years ago, but he's not the only one saying this. It would blow the whole "Bush lied, people died" meme about Iraq to pieces--along with the credibility of numerous people on the Left who made their careers bashing President Bush for the same.
I'm not saying I believe this, but I don't think it's too crackpot of a theory.
We can do better than this. Think about that November.