JOHN ESQUIRE, A READER AND FREQUENT CONTRIBUTOR WRITES THIS ESSAY FOR SYRIAN PERSPECTIVE
KERRY THE BURDEN OF PROOF
The Obama Administration led by Secretary of State John Kerry accuses the Syrian Government of committing an international war crime through the use of chemical weapons. Further, the U.S. Administration has announced that it will proceed with military strikes on Syria in response.
Due process apparently does not apply when you are in a hurry to launch an attack upon another country even when that country has never represented a threat to the national security of the United States.
Mr. Kerry has told the public that the Administration has irrefutable evidence of the crime. He asks the public to accept this proclamation without presenting the evidence. He argues that no examination of the evidence or the source of the information is necessary. He insists that the government has the right to execute a sentence of its own choosing without delay.
Imagine a prosecutor in a murder trial making his opening statement. He informs the jury that he has irrefutable evidence of the defendant’s guilt. Then without presenting the evidence, without allowing the accused to challenge the evidence and present his own evidence, without awaiting the verdict of the jury and without awaiting the sentence of the judge, he simply turns to the defendant and shoots him. Outrageous you say? Exactly!
Am I suggesting that Syria – or the Russians on their behalf – be allowed to present evidence to refute the U.S. argument? If we guarantee that right to any individual whom the state can imprison for as little as thirty days why would we not insist upon it before voting whether to plunge the nation and perhaps the world into yet another war where the accused has not attacked us or even threatened to?
Aside from suppositions and carefully worded double-speak, Mr. Kerry has not presented a single shred of credible evidence in support of his accusation against the Syrian Government. The Syrian Government has not been allowed to respond. The U.N. – whose investigation the Obama Administration insisted upon – has been told its findings will be irrelevant. Congress is told that their decision will not be outcome determinative. The American people have been told that their overwhelming opposition to an attack on Syria is irrelevant.
Member of Congress have raised pertinent questions. Representative James Langford a Republican of Oklahoma noted that it was “fair to ask where weapons originated & who manufactured” them. Representative Alan Grayson a Democrat from Florida noted that the report from the Administration said “regime officials” not President Assad “were witting of” a chemical attack. “One could reasonably ask the question, ‘What did Assad know and when did he know it?’ and if you ask that question you will be met with a stony silence.” “We could have a situation where there was literally a loose cannon who decided to undertake this.” The Administration tells us that only the information in its possession is valid and we are not allowed to subject it or its sources to critical examination. Representative Dennis Kucinich has authored a piece entitled 10 Unproven Pro-Syrian War Claims in which he raises multiple questions about the veracity of Kerry’s ‘evidence,’ and demands full disclosure and answers
Kerry notes that the U.N. will not make a finding as to who used the weapons – a critical factor in finding someone guilty of a crime. Kerry considers Syria guilty until proven innocent while refusing to allow contrary proof. Syria will be destroyed, its people killed and its legitimate government overthrown by a regime which considers itself judge, jury and executioner for a crime which was never proven.