Sometimes you do get to see history repeat itself. Unfortunately, it often involves the more calamitous side of history. The Khan Shaykhun chemical attack in Syria killed around 74 people in the Idlib governorate of Syria, and injured another 557.
For the victims of that attack, the gas was just the beginning. A nearby clinic that was treating sarin gas victims was bombed only hours after the initial attacks. Making matters even worse, the largest hospital in the area was bombed only two days prior to the attack.
The Syrian government denies executing the attack. The Russian Defense Ministry backed up the claims by stating that Syrian aircraft had destroyed an insurgent warehouse that happened to be containing the chemicals.
Countries across the globe have called for an investigation to be conducted by the United Nations Security Council. However, action was taken when 59 Tomahawk missiles were launched at the Shayrat Airbase near Homs. The airbase is believed to be where the chemical attack was launched.
We have seen a moment like this before – children writhing in pain, struggling to gain a breath. Using the same gas, the Syrian government has done this before.
Back in 2013, with the Obama administration, rockets containing the Sarin gas fell into the suburbs of Ghouta, Syria. This was only weeks after the gas was used in Aleppo. The gas used in the attack in Gouta matched the same hallmarks as the attack in Aleppo: they were both launched surface-to-surface, they both attacked rebel controlled sections of Syria, and they were both indiscriminate with civilian deaths.
The Ghouta attack ended up taking around 281 to 1,729 lives, the investigations never came down to a normal number. This attack put a lot of pressure on the Obama administration. In 2012, Obama stated that any use of chemical weapons was the “red line” not to cross, the term became a staple of his presidency. “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; that would change my equation.”
Obama threatened military intervention if any chemical weapons were used on the battlefield; he never really fulfilled this promise. However, it was the beginnings of a plan to rid the country of chemical weapons. The plan was brokered by Russia and its purpose was to destroy all weapons containing Sarin, mustard, and VX; chlorine was another matter. Attacks in 2014 and 2015 used chlorine as its lethal agent.
The program seemed to be going fine for the most part. So fine, that Secretary of State John Kerry was sure enough to say, “We got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out.” Certainly a bold claim. Questions are now up in the air, such as did Syria actually dispose of all its weapons? Did they convert non-lethal chemicals into far more lethal assets?
No matter the answer, it seems like Kerry’s claim was wrong and while the missile launch upon Syria will have impacts for the next few years, one thing is certain: the program that could have potentially saved people’s lives, and rid a dangerous country of its chemical weapons has failed. There is no doubt about that. America will have to accept a lot of the failure in the end. Our war with these dangerous weapons of destruction is far, far from over. And that is more important right now then whether or not an airbase should have been destroyed.

Dakota Roberts">

SIMILAR ARTICLES

Dakota Roberts">

NO COMMENTS

Leave a Reply