Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Monday, April 14, 2003  

President Bush, Saturday

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Syria just needs to cooperate with us. We've made -- I made that clear on Friday. I will, if need be, reiterate it today. The Syrian government needs to cooperate with the United States and our coalition partners and not harbor any Baathists, any military officials, any people who need to be held to account for their tenure during what we are learning more and more about. It was one of the most horrendous governments ever.

Q Could they face military action if they don't cooperate?

THE PRESIDENT: They just need to cooperate.

Colin Powell, Yesterday

"In light of this new environment they [Syria] should review their actions and their behavior, not only with respect to who gets haven in Syria and weapons of mass destruction but especially the support of terrorist activity. With respect to Syria, of course we will examine possible measures of a diplomatic, economic or other nature as we move forward."

Donald Rumsfeld, Yesterday

"We have seen the chemical weapons tests in Syria over the past 12, 15 months. [W]e have intelligence that shows that Syria has allowed Syrians and others to come across the border into Iraq, people armed and people carrying leaflets indicating that they'll be rewarded if they kill Americans and members of the coalition. And we have intelligence that indicates that some Iraqi people have been allowed into Syria, in some cases to stay, in some cases to transit. [On Syrian shipments of arms to Iraq.] We consider such trafficking as hostile acts and will hold the Syrian government accountable for such shipments."

Ari Fleischer, Today

"Well, it is time for Syria to understand. This is a day of emerging liberation for the people of Iraq and it's important for President Assad of Syria -- who is a new leader, a young man -- to understand that the future needs to be different from the past, and that the Iraqi people deserve no less, the region deserves no less.

"Syria is a nation that has long been on the list of terrorist nations. They should not do that. They should not be that way. No nation should be. And that's a message the United States will not be shy about saying to Syria or other nations."

And more creepily, this exchange:

MR. FLEISCHER: I think that what's next is Syria needs to seriously ponder the implications of their actions in terms of harboring Iraqis who need not and should not be harbored. They should think seriously about their program to develop and to have chemical weapons. I think it's time for them to think through where they want their place to be in the world.

Q Why shouldn't people take that as a threat?

After that, Fleischer didn't answer the question, but went to another reporter.

Although the usual pundits have expressed surprise at these threats (which is exactly what they are), I doubt seriously if anything can dissuade the administration from invading Syria if it wishes to. What's particularly alarming to me is that so few "average" Americans seem to care. Let's leave aside the issue of war and peace--why isn't there outrage at these new threats? The war with Iraq isn't even over, and at the moment, the lack of WMDs has made liars of the administration. Now vague concern about a country no one from the administration has heretofore mention hasn't aroused more than a yawn across the country? I sputter in confusion...

posted by Jeff | 5:51 PM |
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