The United Nations sent a team into Syria to look for evidence of chemical weapons, but they were refused entry to the area where the attacks took place long enough to allow the Syrians to clean the place up.
When they did go in they were fired on by snipers and, so, didn't do the whole CSI: Crime Scene Investigation thing.
The UN has been as toothless as Assad has been ruthless.
While more than 100,000 people have died in this civil war, representatives to the UN from around the world have tsk-tsked over a crisply chilled Pinot Grigio and fresh shrimp cocktail served by waiters in white jackets in the wilds of assorted penthouses in Manhattan.
You think I'm being too harsh on the UN? Read this from the BBC about the response to the investigation team being shot at:
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said he would ask the inspection team in Damascus to register "a strong complaint."
Well, if that doesn't do it, I can't think of another approach.
I don't envy either President Obama or Secretary Kerry. This is a really bad situation.
The Administration had proclaimed the use of chemical weapons to be a "red line," which is Obama-speak for "or else."
Assad has used chemical weapons. Obama has to come up with something other than registering a "strong complaint."
Problem is, Americans may be as anti-foreign-adventure as they have been anytime prior to Pearl Harbor.
There is no specific U.S. interest being violated in Syria - other than our being the moral authority of the world, which is no small matter. And, if we (and the UK and - dare we say it - the French) don't punish Assad then the Western Powers will be exposed for what Mao Tse-tung described us as in a 1956 interview:
"Outwardly a tiger, it is made of paper, unable to withstand the wind and the rain. I believe the United States is nothing but a paper tiger."
Paper tiger. Now, there's a legacy for you.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to Kerry's medals, Obama's Iowa speech, Kerry's remarks, the Russian FM, al Jazerra, and Mao.
Also, a Mullfoto of the Embassy of Tajikistan in Washington, DC.
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