I've seen people asking, "Why the rush to attack?" I think the answer is this- everywhere but in the American mainstream media, the question of who was responsible for the Sarin gas attack is still an open one. If a definitive answer surfaces soon that someone other than Assad as responsible, that means the war is off, at least until another plausible casus belli presents itself.
If, however, evidence that Assad was not responsible comes out after we have attacked, after the fictitious 60 day time limit is up and a hasty vote has passed by a wide margin to extend the timeframe indefinitely and throw a hundred billion more dollars at it, after the boots are on the ground and the shit has hit the fan... it won't matter anymore.
Because if this does turn into the next Iraq, and evidence comes up mid-quagmire that Assad had no part in the chemical attacks and that our leaders suspected as much but attacked anyway; no one in the media worth listening to will be willing to touch it with a ten foot pole. The response on Daily Kos will be "HR this CT diary!"
So, while we still can, let's talk about this. I made a poll with 4 options. Obviously the only correct answer is "I don't know." But I'm not asking about what we know for sure, I'm asking about what we think actually happened, if we had to place a bet today. So there's no "I don't know" option- somebody launched that gas. What scenario seems most likely taking into account gut feeling and all the facts you've read?
Whether you believe Assad did it or Assad didn't do it, feel free to post links to material supporting your position.
I for one think he didn't. Assad may be an a-hole, he may even be a crazy a-hole, but I don't think he is a suicidal fool. It should be pretty obvious to all that if you're a dictator in the middle east, and you get caught gassing your own people, you're gonna have a bad time. He had nothing to gain and everything to lose.
I think the most likely scenario is that rebels who knew the U.N. inspectors were in the area did it, (I'm not saying "they gassed themselves", remember the rebels are many groups, not one...) then yelled "Assad did it!" loudly enough for the Israeli agents to hear, and that being exactly what they were waiting to hear, they quickly passed it along to the Americans without further research. That actually seems far more plausible to me than the alternative, so I wonder why this scenario isn't getting more play right now. (Is it because that would make Israel look bad, and making Israel look bad is Not OK?)
BTW, I put option 4 for the sake of completeness, but if you picked that one, don't explain yourself in the comments- you should know that's already outside the limits of acceptable discussion on this site.