Syria has a reported 1,000 tons of chemical weapons, three known storage depots; five “scientific research centers” believed to be involved in chemical weapons production; two dual-use sites believed to be involved in chemical weapons production. Then when it comes to delivery systems, the Syrians had (when the civil war began) a few dozen SS-21 ballistic missiles with a maximum range of 72 miles, with mobile launchers; 200 Scud-Bs, with a maximum range of 180 miles, with mobile launchers; 60 to 120 Scud-Cs, with a maximum range of 300 miles, with mobile launchers.
Here’s a BBC map of depicting which side controls which territory, updated as of August:
Imagine being a U.N. inspector, needing to negotiate with militias every time you move from a red patch through a red-and-blue patch and a blue patch.
Here’s how unidentified assailants greeted a U.N. team in Syria last month:
U.N. inspections in Syria are going to make the U.N. inspections in Iraq from 1991 to 2003 look like a well-oiled machine.
For all of Obama’s indecision and foolishness, his original point in his “red line” comment was a good one. Chemical weapons are different and more dangerous than conventional weapons, and we should seek to prevent, and punish, their use whenever possible.
Bashir Assad used them, and the consequence will be . . . that he has to give the rest of his weapons up — or more specifically, he has to promise to give up the rest of his weapons. As seen above, verifying his compliance will be nearly impossible.
And that’s it. A guy who John Kerry and other officials were comparing to Adolf Hitler avoids any run-ins with a U.S. Tomahawk, gets to stay in power, gets to keep killing his opponents as long as he only uses conventional means.
Peggy Noonan, late Tuesday afternoon:
The president has backed away from a military strike in Syria. But he can’t acknowledge this or act as if it is true. He is acting and talking as if he’s coolly, analytically, even warily contemplating the Russian proposal and the Syrian response. The proposal, he must know, is absurd. Bashar Assad isn’t going to give up all his hidden weapons in wartime, in the middle of a conflict so bitter and severe that his forces this morning reportedly bombed parts of Damascus, the city in which he lives. In such conditions his weapons could not be fully accounted for, packed up, transported or relinquished, even if he wanted to. But it will take time — weeks, months — for the absurdity to become obvious. And it is time the president wants. Because with time, with a series of statements, negotiations, ultimatums, promises and proposals, the Syria crisis can pass. It can dissipate into the air, like gas.
A lot of things “dissipate into the air like gas” with this administration. Benghazi. Fast & Furious. The IRS targeting the Tea Party. The Department of Justice collecting the phone records of the Associated Press. Attorney General Eric Holder’s potential perjury. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius shaking down health-care companies for “contributions” to promote Obamacare. The General Services Administration’s wasteful spending scandal. The demonization and incarceration of the guy who made the YouTube video, and the use of him as a scapegoat for Benghazi. The NSA’s domestic surveillance programs. Huma Abedin doing private-sector consulting work while working for Hillary Clinton at the State Department.
There’s never any damn accountability with this bunch.