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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Continued Uncertainty Over Chemical Weapons Attacks


American officials said Wednesday there was no “smoking gun” that directly links President Bashar al-Assad to the attack, and they tried to lower expectations about the public intelligence presentation. They said it will not contain specific electronic intercepts of communications between Syrian commanders or detailed reporting from spies and sources on the ground. 
But even without hard evidence tying Mr. Assad to the attack, administration officials asserted, the Syrian leader bears ultimate responsibility for the actions of his troops and should be held accountable. 
“The commander in chief of any military is ultimately responsible for decisions made under their leadership,” said the State Department’s deputy spokeswoman, Marie Harf — even if, she added, “He’s not the one who pushes the button or says ‘go’ on this.” 
Administration officials said that communications between military commanders intercepted after Wednesday’s attack provided proof that the assault was not the result of a rogue unit acting against orders. It is unclear how much detail about these communications, if any, will be made public.
 Well, good. If the chief executive bears ultimate responsibility, then Obama should bear responsibility for the deaths caused by the Gun Walker and similar programs; he should bear responsibility for the deaths at Benghazi; he should bear responsibility for the IRS targeting conservatives; etc., etc.

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