POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE NEW YORK TIMES
This is an absurd development.
Yesterday, in the morning, I read Mr Hagel saying that United States' intelligence did not believe Syria had used chemical weapons.
Because Israel had already just claimed in public that Syria had used such weapons, Mr Hagel was careful to state that the United States used its own intelligence sources.
By that afternoon, we had this new story that indeed the United States thought it likely (but had no hard evidence) that Syria had used chemical weapons.
I know of no example from real life events more deserving of the descriptive term "Orwellian."
We know from the inadvertently-overheard words of two presidents not terribly long ago, the presidents of France and the United States, talking in private that Mr Netanyahu is regarded by both of them as an inveterate liar.
Mr Hagel, owing to his independence of mind regarding the Mideast, fought quite a battle after the election to be confirmed for his cabinet post.
Of course, his first words about chemical weapons contradicted Mr Netanyahu.
Something happened in the course of one day to turn him around.
Was it the same group which so opposed his nomination and confirmation?
And that group is the special interest of American apologists for Israel's excesses.
Actually, if anything, virtually the opposite is true. There was a documented incident of the so-called rebels using some form of chemical.
From where did they get the material?
From Israel, in an effort to create a casus belli?