In the pictures and videos of the victims of the Syrian nerve gas attack people do not behave as would be expected of such victims. The reported death toll rate is far below what one would expect of such an attack.
So let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that Bashar al Assad was not the perpetrator of these attacks. Even John Kerry said that it would be irrational for Assad to have done so.
The rebels themselves could have perpetrated the attacks or at least staged the videos to make it seem as if there were an attack. The UN has already determined that some previous attacks have been perpetrated by rebels. There are reports that the Aug 21 incident was an accident caused by the rebels. Further reports say that Saudi Arabia is supplying the rebels with chemical weapons.
John Kerry says that it would be irrational to assume the rebels did it, but offers no reasons for such a conclusion.
After President Obama announced his red line, the rebels knew what it would take to drive the U.S.A to action. Now that the Senate hearings have elicited testimony that there could be further retaliation if the first one does not prevent another nerve agent attack, the rebels know exactly what they have to do to get us to make further attacks.
Is it irrational to think that the rebels now have control of how we manage our response to the Syrian civil war? Is this kind of control something that we want them to have?
So, if we must respond to the use of chemical weapons, let us make sure we punish the perpetrators rather than rewarding them with the response they seek. Let us at least wait for the report from the UN inspectors. If we do not get this right, we may be promoting the use of chemical weapons.
I wonder what President Obama is willing to risk to get his desired resolution from Congress. Is he willing to promise to resign if it turns out the intelligence analyses he is depending on are wrong? Is anybody in the CIA hierarchy willing to make such a promise?