But Weren’t Assad’s Chemical Weapons Gone?

 

Ricochet, help me out. I’m greatly confused by this report in The Wall Street Journal:

U.S. intelligence agencies believe there is a strong possibility the Assad regime will use chemical weapons on a large scale as part of a last-ditch effort to protect key Syrian government strongholds if Islamist fighters and other rebels try to overrun them, U.S. officials said.

Can I be the only one who finds this puzzling? Weren’t they … gone? I would have sworn I remember something like this:

Seriously, I would have professed on a stack of bibles that I remember that. As if it were recent, even — that’s how vivid the memory is. But obviously, my memory is all wrong. (I don’t know where that video came from. Some kind of Internet hoax, I guess.)

This makes me really uneasy about my mental state. Could I be suffering from early-onset dementia? I have to say that this false memory is especially unsettling because … well, it’s silly, I know, since I’m clearly remembering things all backward, but I keep thinking about the Iran deal. What on earth would we do if something similar happened?

At times like this, I have to remind myself to keep in firm contact with the facts. I’m clearly just an anxious personality with a failing memory. Is anyone else suffering from weird memory lapses like this? If so, how have you coped? I’ve read that ginkgo biloba and omega-3 fatty acids can help. What do you think — has anyone here tried memory-boosting supplements? Are they safe? Do they work?

 

 

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    AIG:

    James Gawron: I think you are the one with the video game. The human eye in a plane that is only a thousand feet off the ground going 250 miles an hour is a very good spotting device. It is assisted by heads up weapons targeting in the A10. Having the most rudimentary ground spotting assistance of course would help. Doing the ground spotting is so obvious that is amazing that it needs be mentioned. In a pinch I would trust an A10 pilot to hit the target and not me 100 times more that that video game playing F35 pilot. If the A10 pilot misses he’ll just come around for another pass. Even more likely when he comes in he’ll flush out more targets. He can swing around in short order and have a turkey shoot. That F35 guy is going to be half way back to the aircraft carrier by then. Try to use a little of that intelligence AIG.

    So, shoot everything that’s moving on the ground, is what you’re saying? Ok. Write a letter to the Pentagon with this groundbreaking idea of yours. They still hold on to some crazy idea about rules of engagement.

    Only in Obama’s America!

    AIG,

    Ahhh you are still king of the straw men. I said nothing of the kind. You didn’t read a word I said. Following the false quote you dumped a load of the cheapest sarcasm I’ve seen in a long time. If you aren’t capable of arguing logic or facts please refrain from these ridiculous tactics as they get boring quickly (yawn).

    As far as the rules of engagement. Rules of engagement that demand perfection in targeting are not rules of engagement at all. They are just a negative way of giving the command to disengage or in more common usage to stand down (as in Benghazi) or in the most common usage to retreat.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #31
  2. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Gawron: Ahhh you are still king of the straw men. I said nothing of the kind. You didn’t read a word I said.

    I generally read the first and last word of your posts, and fill in the blank with what I know you’re going to say. 99% of cases it’s something about the A-10. So it’s a pretty good strategy.

    What you said is…kill everything that moves. Whether you know this is what you said or not, doesn’t matter. That is what you said. Because the moment you have to consider actually finding and ID-ing bad guys, then there’s no longer a point to what you wrote.

    This is why I said…this is an issue of intelligence. Getting intelligence on the ground about who is where and what’s going on. That is an immensely difficult thing to do, in a country like Syria.

    Saying it’s difficult isn’t the same thing as “no strategy…lying” etc. That’s what someone who doesn’t understand that this is difficult, says.

    James Gawron: As far as the rules of engagement. Rules of engagement that demand perfection in targeting are not rules of engagement at all. They are just a negative way of giving the command to disengage or in more common usage to stand down (as in Benghazi) or in the most common usage to retreat.

    As I said, send a letter to the Pentagon.

    • #32
  3. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    AIG,

    What you said is…kill everything that moves.

    No I did not say “kill everything that moves.” Nor do I believe that targeting is easy. No war is easy and targeting is always problematic. However, from what I’ve heard our targeting rules of engagement are so strict that there is almost no engagement. My desire to use the A10’s more seat of the pants would help this, of course there are lots of other good reasons to use the A10. However, if Mommy back at HQ wants a written guarantee that no mistake is ever going to be made then the whole thing is pointless. There will never be any such guarantee and you know it. We either try 100% and go do it or we just stop the bullshit and go away.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #33
  4. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Gawron:AIG,

    What you said is…kill everything that moves.

    No I did not say “kill everything that moves.” Nor do I believe that targeting is easy. No war is easy and targeting is always problematic. However, from what I’ve heard our targeting rules of engagement are so strict that there is almost no engagement. My desire to use the A10′s more seat of the pants would help this, of course there are lots of other good reasons to use the A10. However, if Mommy back at HQ wants a written guarantee that no mistake is ever going to be made then the whole thing is pointless. There will never be any such guarantee and you know it. We either try 100% and go do it or we just stop the bullshit and go away.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Again, a strongly worded letter to the Pentagon would help here. They don’t seem to be able to understand just how to do CAS.

    Well, what would anyone expect in Obama’s America! AmIright? High five!

    • #34
  5. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Again, a strongly worded letter to the Pentagon would help here. They don’t seem to be able to understand just how to do CAS.

    They don’t understand how to do CAS in a political environment created from the top down that is killing their every effort.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #35
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    AIG, I do hope you held onto that charm school tuition receipt.

    • #36
  7. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    anonymous:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: I’ve read that ginkgo biloba and omega-3 fatty acids can help. What do you think — has anyone here tried memory-boosting supplements? Are they safe? Do they work?

    Well, you asked.

    Sadly, I’m beginning to think it’s not my memory at fault. I’ll hold on to this in case I ever need it.

    • #37
  8. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: This makes me really uneasy about my mental state. Could I be suffering from early-onset dementia?

    Claire, if you believe anything said by anyone in the Obama administration about anything, you are definitely suffering from some form of dementia.

    • #38
  9. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    The Middle East problem:

    1. President Obama is feckless. Both our allies and enemies in the Middle East know that President Obama is feckless.
    2. President Obama is feckless. Both our allies and enemies outside the Middle East know that President Obama is feckless.
    3. President Obama lies, he lies a lot. Everyone knows this with the exception of MSNBC and The New York Times.
    4. President Obama makes lines in the sand. The only sand President Obama cares about is in a bunker 10 feet from the pin.
    • #39
  10. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Percival:AIG, I do hope you held onto that charm school tuition receipt.

    An ad hominem argument does not invalidate my points. Nor does it strengthen “yours”.

    Nor does making “your” arguments more charming, make them any more valid.

    Although, I fail to see the “charm” in accusing the US military, multiple times in a row, of “lying to us”, based on no evidence whatsoever (or on erroneous evidence).

    • #40
  11. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Gosh, AIG. You don’t like me? I’m “crushed.” The only thing more effective than “scare quotes” is making points in boldface, because boldface is truthier than the normal font style.

    Chlorine is one of the most heavily produced chemicals because of its tremendous utility. It is used in water purification, waste treatment, plastics and paper making, and in pharmaceutical production. It also makes my tighty-whities whiter.

    Chlorine is a mild irritant at < 3 ppm, a moderate irritant < 15 ppm, and a severe one thereafter. It irritates by reacting with the water present in the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract and the water in the eyes to produce hydrochloric acid. This can cause pulmonary edema and blindness pretty quickly. At its first deployment at the Battle of 2nd Ypres in 1915, it is estimated that it caused 800 deaths and 3000 incapacitations (source: Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents).

    It is far from an ideal weapon. It is detectable by both sight and smell, and gas mask discipline generally defeats it. It was abandoned as a weapon by both sides by 1917.

    It’ll do a hell of a number on little kids in Syria who forget their gas masks, though. And it’s nothing at all like “tear gas,”

    • #41
  12. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I saw one man near me turn a sickly greenish-yellow… His eyes began to bulge from his head; froth filled his mouth and hung from his lips. He began tearing at his throat. The air wouldn’t go into his lungs. He fell and rolled over and over, gasping and crying out while with his nails he tore open his throat, even wrenched out his windpipe. Then his chest heaved a time or two, and he lay still. Death had brought its blessed relief.

    – Eyewitness account of “tear gas” attack, Ypres, France 22 April 1915

    • #42
  13. ParisParamus Inactive
    ParisParamus
    @ParisParamus

    I need to clarify my earlier comment I this thread. I feel the world has gone completely mad. The vast majority of people don’t give a fig about truth and lies and their consequences. Or nearly everyone has been reduced to a kind of Piaget pre-concrete logic state in which nothing that happened beyond and before their field of vision matters, even exists. Yesterday’s lies mean nothing. What was seen, read and felt before now does not register.

    • #43
  14. ParisParamus Inactive
    ParisParamus
    @ParisParamus

    I need to clarify my earlier comment in this thread. I feel the world has gone completely mad. The vast majority of people don’t give a fig about truth and lies and their consequences. Nearly everyone has been reduced to a kind of Piaget pre-concrete logic state, in which nothing that happened beyond and before their field of vision matters, or even exists. Yesterday’s lies mean nothing and never happened. What was seen, read and felt before now does not has no present significance. The future doesn’t even exist.

    • #44
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