Sec. of State John Kerry: “Blood and Hair Samples Confirm, Sarin Gas Used in Syria”

bashar-al-assadWhile the debate rages on whether or not we should get involved in the Syrian civil war, one horror has been more or less confirmed—sarin gas was used.

This morning, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “Blood and hair samples that have come to us through an appropriate chain of custody from east Damascus from first responders, it has tested positive for signatures of sarin.”

With each passing day it’s becoming harder to deny that Bashar al-Assad has been using chemical weapons in Syria.

Now why did I put “using” in italics?  Because, despite popular belief, the attack on August 21 which killed over 1,400 people (400 of whom were children) wasn’t the first time sarin gas was used.

And I can already hear those that are comparing this to Bush’s claims that Iraq “without a doubt” had WMD’s.  This isn’t a claim based off questionable intel.

Over the last few months the U.N. and other nations have pointed to mounting evidence that Syria was using chemical weapons on its own people.  And much of that evidence has come from sources independent of the nations involved and the U.N.  If anything the fact that more nations haven’t gotten involved shows that this time these nations are making certain they’re right about the use of sarin gas.

Which the evidence supports.

This revelation comes on the heels of Obama’s comments yesterday where he called the Republican bluff that he would “go it alone” on military actin in Syria, and said he supports U.S. military intervention in Syria only with Congressional approval.

And while I’m still not sure about how I feel about our possible military involvement, this situation seems to be one that simply has no “right” answer.

If we sit by and do nothing, tens of thousands more will die.  Not only will they die, but history will show that we knew chemical weapons were used and did nothing.

Yet if we get involved, the best case scenario is fewer die, but some die due to our military involvement.  And even if we help remove Bashar al-Assad from power, we’re looking at another nation which will still be left in total chaos.

Will we have a plan then?  If the war in Iraq showed us anything, it’s that the war is the “easy” part.  What comes after is much more complicated and often just as controversial.

So as the evidence mounts that thousands in Syria have been killed due to al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons, it forces the question to be asked, “Are we more anti-war or are we more pro-humanity?”

Because that’s what this is quickly turning into.  Not a decision for war, but a decision on what’s humane.

The costs and politics aside—what will history say?  That we sat by and allowed thousands to be murdered with sarin gas, many of them children, in a brutal civil war; or we took a stand against a corrupt dictatorship which ordered the grotesque killing of thousands.

Like I said, it’s a situation with many more questions than answers.  But at least finally those questions are being asked.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • jones

    we’re already standing aside and watching murder — in Palestine.

    • Jason

      Give me a break. Perhaps if terrorists in “Palestine” stop lobbing rockets into Israel. Israel doesn’t gas it’s own citizens btw.

    • Rich39

      Amen.. and Africa for years.

  • Suzanne Longo

    It’s easy for Americans to sit back, enjoy the three day weekend, and postulate what “we should and should not do,” but we don’t live in fear everyday wondering what the next bomb brings. Human rights are not specific to just Americans, they are for every human on this planet. That’s why they are called Human Rights. Before you go on a crusade against Obama, try looking at the world as he does. He is willing to go at this alone. He stands up for the most vulnerable in our country, We know the risks he took to get Osama Bin Laden. Now, the rest of the world faces a humanitarian crises and they are looking at us.We can either close our eyes and pretend we don’t know what is happening in Syria, or we can do something. It’s time to find out just how humane our Congress is. If they vote no, and Syria unleashes it’s whole arsenal of chemical weapons on innocent men, women and children, blood will be on their hands, as if they don’t have enough already. Don’t be surprised if Congress says “this is too hard for us, we need another five weeks vacation to figure out what to do.”

    • leeroy jenkins

      The risks he took?!? Are you serious? He never once has been in harms way. Syria is not our fight! We have our own problems that need attended. Anybody curious about where Syria got sarin gas from? Keep up the Obama worship…this will not end well!

      • Strata1

        Leeroy, I think the answer to your question of where Syria got sarin gas from is George W. Bush, who initiated and supported much of the financing, intelligence and military help that built Saddam’s Irag into the power it became. By the time we got there, the WMDs had most likely been moved to neighboring Syria, where they are now killing people.

      • Strata1

        Pardon me, I meant to say George H. Bush.

    • Robert Haugh

      What a breath of fresh air you are Suzanne. Whether we like it or not, somebody has to step up and take action. Just because other countries lack the backbone to act, when action is needed, does not mean we as a country should not live up to our responsibility to do so.Some posters like to say” we are not the worlds police force”. Hell we’re not. somebody has to be ready to take the lead in matters like this, or the use of these weapons become the norm. There has to be a heavy price paid by those who would commit these atrocities to make others think long and hard about whether they are prepared to pay such a price. It baffles me that there are people who can’t see the simplicity and truth of that fact.

    • buttercatz99

      Suzanne, it’s not our fight. Let someone else correct this. We are not the superman nation with endless money and resources. You fail to understand there are children and poor people dying right here in the U.S. every day because of problems we have domestically. The 400 children gassed over there? Well many more will die here in the next year because of guns, abuse, suicide, starvation, disease, lack of health care, poor nutrition (poverty). We need to fix us first.

  • Frooble Rippers

    I’m extremely nervous about this because the Assad regime would be extremely stupid to carry out this type of attack, as they knew what the consequences might be. I’m no conspiracy theorist nor have I ever been, but there are so many factions in Syria that one of them may well have got hold of sarin and used it in an attempt to bring the rest of the world into the conflict. All I’m saying is, we have to be careful and sure of our facts. If the Assad regime did carry out these attacks they deserve the condemnation and possible military attacks they deserve… Not sure about this one, to me it’s “unnerving”,,,,,

    • Jason

      Exactly. Just because hair and tissue samples prove sarin gas was used, doesn’t mean the regime used it. This is a tough spot with no concrete evidence. I wouldn’t put it past either side to use these tactics, but especially the more radical fringes involved in this civil conflict.

      • shopper11

        Have to agree with both of the above – was fairly certain they would find the proof of the gas but WHO used it is the question. My fear is that if we attack it gives Iran the excuse to attack Israel and suddenly -WWIII with nukes, etc.
        We know there are Muslim fanatic groups who would like to see this happen with thoughts that they would remain as the victors. One of them could have been the ‘gas’ users. We know they think their religion tells them to kill all infidels.
        Really don’t think we should act alone on this one. Too many groups involved in this civil war and no one knows which one could end up in power if they are successful – could be even worse.

    • Jason

      Exactly. Just because hair and tissue samples prove sarin gas was used, doesn’t mean the regime used it. This is a tough spot with no concrete evidence. I wouldn’t put it past either side to use these tactics, but especially the more radical fringes involved in this civil conflict.

  • Truth Seeker


  • bfreesun

    Where is the evidence as to WHO used the gas?

  • Timothy Mueller

    We love it when our Presidents say we are the greatest nation on earth. But when we are asked to act on that, we complain about the President’s actions.
    Sarin gas was used. Nobody but Assad has the rockets that were used to deliver it . The area was already under attack by other Assad weapons that very night. We already know that Assad has no problem killing his own people.

    Are we the greatest nation on earth, or just spoiled, self-serving and privileged people?

  • SadieBoyd

    “If the war in Iraq showed us anything, it’s that the war is the “easy” part.’ What a despicable statement about the value of human life. We need not kill more to stop people from killing…think outside of the bully box!

  • Rich39

    I bet somebody could find some hair and blood samples after the USA hit a village with a drone. Or the USA napalmed a village.
    USA motto. Don’t kill people with gas. Kill them with fire and bombs.

  • Bill T.

    This is a problem for the Arab League to solve.

    • Pipercat

      Indeed, the first thing they need to do is acknowledge what this war is really about and the string-pullers behind it. Getting involved in someone else’s proxy war is always folly.

      • Bill T.

        It’s a civil war, and we’d be assisting Al Qaeda. That’s just plain nuts.

      • Pipercat

        Hell, take it to the next step. It’s really Iran vs. the Saudis; or more precisely, the sunnis vs. the shia over what happened in 7th century. I’d definitely sit this one out…

      • Bill T.