NOAM CHOMSKY, chomsky at mit.edu
Available for a limited number of interviews planned in advance beginning Friday evening, Chomsky — who was recently in the Mideast — made a statement widely circulated by the HuffingtonPost: “As international support for Obama’s decision to attack Syria has collapsed, along with the credibility of government claims, the administration has fallen back on a standard pretext for war crimes when all else fails: the credibility of the threats of the self-designated policeman of the world. And that aggression without UN authorization would be a war crime, a very serious one, is quite clear, despite tortured efforts to invoke other crimes as precedents.”
ASSAF KFOURY, kfoury at bu.edu
Professor in the computer science department at Boston University, Kfoury regularly writes on the Mideast and accompanied Chomsky on his recent trip there. He said today: “The merits or demerits of a U.S.-led war on Syria should be debated independently of the CW [chemical weapons] attack. It may well be that the armed opposition, not the Syrian regime, was responsible for the CW attack. And we are fully justified in taking assertions by American officials that claim the opposite with a huge grain of salt. The fact is that the Syrian regime has been already guilty of other equally abhorrent crimes in past months and years. And some of the extremist groups that are increasingly asserting their presence in the ranks of the Syrian opposition, armed and financed by America’s close regional allies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey), have committed just as loathsome atrocities. …
“A U.S. assault on Syria would be disastrous on many levels: for the Syrian people, for the Syrian revolution, and for world peace — and should be opposed, but not because there is no certainty that the Syrian regime was responsible for the August 21 CW attack.
“Second, there is no justification for any kind of U.S.-led action against Syria. The claim that the Obama administration is ready to act because of a principled position against all uses of CW and other WMD is entirely bogus: the U.S. military has a long history of using them, as recently as in Iraq. Obama’s sole concern is America’s ‘loss of credibility’ — i.e. its credibility as the world’s chief bully.”