Opinion Opinion: Who used it first, the US or Syria? By The New Political Posted on September 11, 2013 9 min read 1 0 368 A few minutes of research discredits the Oval Office’s case for bombing Syria. According to the White House, chemical warfare is an insufferable atrocity, and the users of chemical weapons must be brought to justice, even if that requires military intervention. In response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of sarin gas, President Barack Obama’s administration has adopted a principle that demands the retroactive punishment of regimes that deploy chemical weapons. Taken to heart, that principle leads to unwelcome conclusions. For example, Israel—better known as ‘Our Friend and Ally, Israel’—used skin-melting white phosphorus weapons in its 2009 siege on Gaza. In order to uphold their newfound principles and avoid hypocrisy, the White House camarilla would be bound by duty to bomb Israel. The United States also used white phosphorus during its 2004 attack on Fallujah. It would therefore appear that the U.S. is obliged to bomb itself, with or without congressional approval. American military forces also fired nearly 400 tons of a highly-toxic, radioactive, armor-piercing metal called depleted uranium during its two invasions of Iraq in 1991 and 2003, which some researchers believe is responsible for Gulf War Syndrome. Prior to these invasions, U.S. officials aided Saddam Hussein when he gassed Kurds in the 1980s. As part of a chemical warfare program known as Operation Ranch Hand, U.S. forces doused Vietnam with 19 million gallons of chemicals, including 11 million gallons of the herbicide known as Agent Orange. Throughout its invasion of Vietnam the U.S. used 373,000 tons of napalm, a flaming gel that sticks to skin. In a single bombing raid during World War II the U.S. dropped 1,665 tons of napalm-loaded shells on Tokyo, killing about 100,000 people in one night. In the midst of World War II the U.S. made 183 million pounds of mustard gas, which it tested on its own people. Most alarming of all, over the past few decades the U.S. has secretly developed and stockpiled weapons-grade anthrax in military facilities. Apologists for the White House might argue that these events all occurred within the context of a legitimate war, unlike Assad’s assault on his fellow Syrians. Such apologists might be dismayed to learn that in 1951 the U.S. Navy, in conjunction with the Army Chemical Corps, launched Operation Sea-Spray which showered San Francisco residents with the bacterium Serratia marcescens and caused an outbreak of illness that killed at least one man. In the mid-1950s the U.S. military initiated Operation Big Buzz and Operation Drop Kick in which almost one million mosquitoes were rained from aircraft in order to test the dispersal patterns of weaponized insects that were infected with yellow fever and allowed to feast on civilian populations. According to one account, “Hundreds of residents fell ill, suffering from fevers, respiratory distress, stillbirths, encephalitis, and typhoid. Army researchers disguised themselves as public health workers in order to photograph and test the victims. Several deaths were reported.” Aside from these events, another kink in the White House’s case is the fact that no bulletproof evidence exists which proves Assad used chemical weapons. Suspiciously enough, Obama ordered Secretary of State John Kerry to instruct Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to halt U.N. investigations into the matter. In breach of basic legal principles, the White House has elected to forgo the need to provide proof that establishes the guilt of the accused. Perhaps the Oval Office tried to block the investigation because insiders knew such an inquiry would disprove their claims, especially in light of the fact that U.N. investigators found evidence which suggests the U.S.-backed anti-Assad rebel forces used sarin gas. As the current imbroglio with Syria makes clear, chemical weapons are vilified far beyond conventional weapons. This vilification is curious considering that common weapons will kill people just as well as nerve agents; a bullet will easily blow your brain out the back of your gas mask. Nevertheless, according to prevailing attitudes, spraying bullets is permissible but spraying chemicals is barbarous. But if a child is killed in war as collateral damage, the parent doesn’t much care whether it was caused by a gas or a solid. For some reason, U.S. officials are easily roused to action when it comes to opposing the killing of innocent bystanders that accompanies the use of chemical weapons, and yet they refuse to sign international treaties banning land mines and cluster bombs, while continuing to manufacture nuclear weapons, all of which kill people indiscriminately. In light of the U.S.’s moral posturing against chemical weapons, it is useful to recall that the U.S. is the only nation to use both chemical and nuclear weapons in warfare. It is also useful to recall that if a multitude of Americans gathered in public to protest against bombing Syria, the police would deploy chemical weapons and pepper spray the eyes of peaceful protestors while suffocating them in a painful cloud of tear gas. There is one lesson to be learned from the situation is Syria that applies everywhere: people of the world should reject violence-prone leaders who are too irresponsible or too untalented or too cowardly to relentlessly pursue diplomatic solutions.