In this MSNBC roundtable discussion, Hillary Mann Leverett, a veteran of both the Bush and Clinton administrations, took on three liberal warmongers and the moderator questioning the consequences of helping Al Qaeda rebels if they conducted the attack on civilians and told them “the rest of the world does not believe what we’re saying for good reason. We made it up last time”.
An expert on the Middle East and serving in high positions in both the George W. Bush White House and the Bill Clinton State Department, she pushed back against the “herd mentality” of the mainstream media and the MSNBC panel.
Mann Leverett said, “It is strikingly similar to the lead up to the war in Iraq . I was in the Bush administration in the Bush White House dealing also with Congressional Democrats and with members of the media, with the New York Times, with NBC. The herd mentality that took over to buy into the Bush administration’s narrative that Saddam Hussein had to have chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction and was determined to use them against us was something unquestioned. I remember going with a key member of the Bush national security team to see President Clinton and he putting his arm around her, telling her not only was the intel right, but she was doing the right thing morally. It was not only a mistake, it was based on manufactured evidence.”
John Kerry hasn’t ruled out the possibility that the sarin gas attack was the work of Al Qaeda rebels. He simply doesn’t care who used it. He has asserted that the presence of sarin gas (if that was actually what was used) is sufficient reason to attack Assad. But what if it was the rebels that carried out the attack as a former correspondent for AP & BBC, Dale Gavlak reported and as a Belgian teacher and former rebel hostage, Pierre Piccinin da Prata, stated.
‘The Definition of Insanity’
Mann Leverett continued, “Here, nobody is asking this basic question, except for our friends in Moscow, what if Assad didn’t order this? What if this wasn’t a Syrian troop chemical attack? What if this was perpetrated by Al Qaeda affiliated oppositionists? The consequences here for going into Syria are even more grave than Iraq. Because if we go into Syria and we degrade and we weaken Assad to be the extent that Al Nusra the other Al Qaeda and other affiliated oppositionists get away with mass chemical warfare, if that’s what happened, and we think they’re going to stop there, that’s the definition of insanity.”
Hillary Mann Leverett points out some of the specific reasons that UN inspector, Carla del Ponte’s investigatory commission said there was “strong concrete suspicions” that a previous gas attack was launched by rebel forces using sarin gas.
“The Russians and the Chinese have people on the ground. They didn’t pull their diplomats out. They didn’t pull their people out of Syria. They went to the last chemical weapons attack site in March. They did forensics on the ground themselves. They found two striking things that have not been covered in the press here at all. One was that the rockets used to deliver those chemicals were homemade rockets, not military, not industrial produced. The other thing they found was the sarin there was not military produced. They didn’t use stabilizers. Maybe this is totally different. Maybe this time Assad said, ‘I’m winning on the battlefield, so I’m going to send chemical weapons in for the fun of it’. Maybe the Russians have a point. Here Obama is going to go to Russia, and we think he’s not going to hear an earful? The rest of the world does not believe what we’re saying for good reason. We made it up last time,” said Mann Leverett.
When pressed for evidence, MSNBC panel member, Heather Hurlbert, admitted that the White House has lost all credibility. “There is no longer any standard of evidence you can present that people will believe,” she said.