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Something happened today, that we really would rather not deal with, which may be  why the front page makes no mention of it. 1300 people were killed today. Like ripples in a pond, the consequences of their deaths may not reach us right now. Or tomorrow. Or this week. Or even this year. But reach us they will. So it's best not to look away. I am of course referring to the sarin gas attacks in the eastern outskirts of Damascus, which happened 24 hours ago. I saw the video footage. I can spare you the unpleasantness of looking at it.

The most comprehensive link showing the evidence for the East Ghouta sarin gas attacks is this one, EA World View. It collects and tries to corroborate the never-ending stream of bulletins and stories coming out of Syria, and it's done a good job so far as I've seen. Some dKos members will want of course just to dismiss EAWV as a neocon/neoliberal/bearer-of-uncomfortable-tidings site and look away. Don't. WAVW is not the source for the videos on that page. The source is the Syrian cameramen who recorded the footage shown there.

I took the trouble to view them. Well, enough of them. The videos described as showing dead bodies lacking physical trauma are exactly that. Bodies of young people, dead, but not showing any signs of physical trauma. And the videos of the injured being treated, well, they would be pretty hard to fake.

The victims have trouble breathing, not for any irritation or inflammation of their lungs, but because their chest muscles and diaphragms are spastic. A classic sign of nerve trouble. The cameraman records, for two patients, as the medic holds an eye open to show their constricted pupils. Again, that is a classic sign of sarin poisoning. As are the convulsions you will see in some of the patients.

The treatment to which they are subjected, again, matches sarin. The medics strip them as much as they can, to wash the sarin off their skin, irrigate their eyes with sterile water, and inject them with atropine.

Adverse reactions to atropine include ventricular fibrillation, supraventricular or ventricular tachycardia, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, loss of balance, dilated pupils, photophobia, dry mouth and potentially extreme confusion, dissociative hallucinations and excitation especially amongst the elderly. These latter effects are because atropine is able to cross the blood–brain barrier. Because of the hallucinogenic properties, some have used the drug recreationally, though this is potentially dangerous and often unpleasant. [Wikipedia]
Two of the children in the video footage are lucky enough to be treated successfully enough to demonstrate those signs for your edification. A little boy has to be caught by the medic because he launches himself sideways out of vertigo. And a little girl has a full on panic attack. Atropine is a hell of a drug. It would take a special class of sadistic SOB to inject the stuff into a child who does not need it.

One infant is not so lucky. You can see him in the beginning of one clip, still writhing. At the end, a medic is trying to give him artificial respiration, because he has stopped breathing. The boy is a ridiculously short chopper flight away from an Israeli hospital, one that is already treating injured Syrians. If not for, um, certain complications, he would be fine right  now. Instead, he is dead.
By my eyeball estimate, he matches my firstborn's age closely.

I am writing this description to spare you the experience of watching for yourself. Just understand that a city in Syria was attacked with sarin gas today. And 1300 are dead.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to bear (8+ / 0-)

    witness. If it is all we can do right now, it must be done.

    "I don't love writing, but I love having written" ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

    by jan4insight on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 08:26:44 PM PDT

  •  How horrible. (4+ / 0-)

    Though it is being reported.  I checked Al Jezeera, MSNBC and CNN websites - all are featuring this.

    don't know what was said on tv, i generally don't watch it, but i would think if it is on their sites, that it is being talked about on air.

    "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

    by MRA NY on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 08:46:57 PM PDT

    •  nope. but we're getting all the "entertainment" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      stuff on the news, as usual.

      america is now a nation of ignorance.  nothing about the world news is broadcast any longer - we are a nation in the darkness and it frightens me.

      i weep for those in syria and egypt and iraq and afghanistan, pakistan and so many other nations where pain and suffering are an everyday occurance.

      EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

      by edrie on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 11:11:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Okay, the line was drawn in the sand. It's been (6+ / 0-)

    crossed.  Now what?

    Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity -- George Carlin

    by ZedMont on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 08:48:30 PM PDT

    •  ha ha, nothing is what. President Equivocation (3+ / 2-)

      will do nothing.

      Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

      by absdoggy on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 08:54:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And what if... (4+ / 0-)

        "President Equivocation" did step in, with a big heavy hand, in Syria and Egypt? What if all your dreams came true, and the president agreed w/your RX for action, as vague to non existent as it is to me exactly WHAT action it is you prescribe.

        But let's put all that messy stuff away for a minute. Let's stick w/the idea that you hold this president, any president, responsible for what? Let's be specific.

        If you want him to speak up against the use of chemical warfare, I'm pretty sure he will and has. Beyond that, how much do you want America committed to be the world's cop? And to back that up w/military intervention, because that's really what we're talking about here, in the end.

        Because from my POV, as much as this diary sears my heart, I find myself quite scarred from Viet Nam and Iraq---places we have inserted ourselves w/no good end, and much tragedy.

        OTOH, I'm not an isolationist either. So what to do? Would like to hear your take on this. What do you think the president should do about this? And how many American lives are you willing to put behind your ideas?  

           

        "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

        by StellaRay on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 09:59:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm assuming you're responding to absdoggy? (0+ / 0-)

          Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity -- George Carlin

          by ZedMont on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 11:19:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ZedMont

            Sorry if comment landed in wrong place.

            "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

            by StellaRay on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 08:36:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, I think it was in the right place, it's just (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              StellaRay

              that his comment was a little vague - as was mine - so I wasn't sure.

              I'm where you are, and I think Obama is as well, within limits.  By that I mean I wouldn't be surprised to see some limited retaliation, but not a ground war.  France so much as said so today, and I feel pretty confident that Obama wouldn't even participate in a bombing campaign without a significant UN or NATO presence.  

              I think the UN and NATO are concerned that allowing chemical genocide to skate will embolden other regimes to do the same.

              Even though I do NOT want to become involved in another civil war - this one is shaping up to be a religious civil war pitting Shiites against Sunnis - I do think that if Assad is ever deposed, he should very quickly be tried for war crimes.

              Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity -- George Carlin

              by ZedMont on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 02:25:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I hold him responsible to his word (0+ / 0-)

          "I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game-changer."

          Okay then. The use of chemical weapons was established several months ago, and now it has happened again. Please tell me how "the game" has changed. Please tell me exactly what steps - and steps that would qualify as game changing - have been taken.  NONE

          Here's President Obama one year ago:  Aug. 20, 2012, "A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus."

          Chemical weapons have been moved around, and they have now been used 3 times, and this third instance is a large escalation from the first 2.  Please tell me how the "calculus" has changed. NONE

          How many will die in the next use of chemical weapons? What if they are used along the Turkish border and Turkish citizens wind up being killed because we failed to act.

          My own solution? Take out the Syrian military with precision strikes, including all bases to which chemical weapons have been tracked. The same for all Hezbollah camps in Lebanon.  No troops on the ground, but de-escalate the violence by crippling their military capability.  That part did work in the first Gulf War in Iraq, and it worked when the Israelis kicked the Syrians back from the Golan Heights.

          As to Egypt, I want him to declare that a military coup did take place and end the foreign aid to their military.  This aid gives us no influence on events there, but it is about 37% of the Egyptian military's budget. End it now.

          Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

          by absdoggy on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:41:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Out of bounds. Don't be a dick. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wordsinthewind

        and don't call my President that.

        "I don't love writing, but I love having written" ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

        by jan4insight on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:03:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not an equivocation? (0+ / 0-)

          There was a military coup in Egypt.  Even if we thought it necessary, there was a military coup in Egypt. The President has equivocated on calling it that in order to avoid the rule of law and continuing sending US taxpayer dollars to the Egyptian military, which comprises 37% of their military budget.

          One year ago the President said that use of chemical weapons was a red line, and if crossed it would be a game changer as to US policy.

          We have now had the use of chemical weapons 3 times with no response except to call for more investigations of what we already know. Gross equivocation.

          There's no call for an HR of the truth.

          Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

          by absdoggy on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:44:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  First, clear away the fog of war. (0+ / 0-)

      When the Syrian civil war began, the amateur videographers documenting it were not able to use the Internet to get their footage out. There was a smuggling operation using trained donkeys to cross the border to Jordan and deliver the footage on SD cards.

      Now they're able to abandon assnet and use the Internet instead. This is the first major war where the use of disinformation may become infeasible.

      Especially if that's how we respond to it as we should.

      Now what? Now we say what's going on. And say it. And say it. Until it cannot be ignored.

  •  It was on PBS, a nightmare scene of people in (11+ / 0-)

    agony, the announcer quick to say they don't have proof, it wasn't tested, the military denies that they are responsible. The doctor was crying.

    It's unbelievable, who would do this and what possible justification could they have in their insane minds?

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 08:57:16 PM PDT

  •  Watching on Maddow right now. Horrifying (4+ / 0-)

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 09:15:03 PM PDT

  •  Do the films show who attacked the city? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, kurt

    Or just the aftermath of an attack?


    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 10:08:08 PM PDT

  •  Thanks, ocschwar, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Joy of Fishes

    for bearing witness for me. And thanks for posting this diary. It's unbearable to hear of these things, but yet, we must find a way to bear up under the evil we are left to witness, and to somehow find a way to help. And I'll be honest to say, I don't know exactly what that way is.

    But still, it is important that we KNOW. That's always, at least, a beginning.

    "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

    by StellaRay on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 10:25:28 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for what you did. (6+ / 0-)

    I almost went to the videos you linked to out of morbid curiosity.  I won't go now, because you endured serious trauma to report it.  

    I fear the Internet has ruined me.  The other day I watched videos of people dying and it did not bother me.

    I have to think about what it is that has broken inside me.

    "When puzzled, it never hurts to read the primary documents—a rather simple and self-evident principle that has, nonetheless, completely disappeared from large sectors of the American experience." -- Stephen Jay Gould

    by 8ackgr0und N015e on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 10:29:21 PM PDT

    •  Even if there are more 'zeroes' added after 1300 (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight, Joy of Fishes, kurt, JVolvo

      (these things always seem to start with what turns out to be a fraction of the final count) the 1,300 murdered en masse by sarin gas are already a bigger number than I can 'process'.  How much misery and death must a 'government' dish out before enough of 'them' realize they are committing horrific war crimes against humanity and cannot possibly expect the people or the world to accept their legitimacy anymore?

      When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

      by antirove on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 11:00:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because it's on a screen much like your (0+ / 0-)

      television - which, even if you don't watch tv, is still the best comparison.  And what you watch (or have watched in the past) is USUALLY fiction, so you aren't reacting to this like it's real because you've seen fictional death how many times? on tv and in movies.

      Even those of us who are easily affected by these things are becoming more calloused and jaded.

      The man who dies rich dies disgraced. -Andrew Carnegie, industrialist (1835-1919)

      by Spirit of Life on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 09:59:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary, some additional info.... (9+ / 0-)

    I keep hearing from "Various" new sources (probably quoting folks inside the Syrian regime) that it "MAY" have been a riot control agent, well all I have to say to that is BULL FUCKING SHIT.  I have handled riot control agents (CS / CN gas) and been gassed with them multiple times over thirty years in the US Military.  The massive lie that multiple people of seemingly all ages were killed by the use of a "Normal" riot control (irritating) agent is practically impossible. Can it done? Yes, if you lock people up in an fairly air tight building where there is NO ESCAPE, lock them in and chuck the keys, then yes you can asphyxiate them with it.  In a "normal use" setting you might gas someone enough to kill them if they are elderly, have impaired lung function, or the very young (say babies).  Normally healthy children and adults will have a bad day, but the likelihood of them dying is mighty damn low.

    Here's the TRUTH, when ANYONE gets hit with an irritating agent such as CS/CN (tear gas) unless they are in a gas mask, they will move away from it as fast as possible.

    "Normal" riot control agents do not have effects lasting beyond an hour at most.   Most people get over a really bad gassing in about 45 minutes.  Their noses might still run for awhile due to irritated sinuses, but breathing and sight should be back to being fairly normal.  When you see a whole bunch of folks dead with zero wounds on them, and a lot more severely affected physically and mentally long after the incident happened then it WAS NOT A RIOT AGENT period.  People react differently to these agents, some people are affected a lot more than others, THAT BEING SAID... even in the worst cases where we had to have the medics put a tiny few them on oxygen, after no more than an hour later they were back in decent shape.

    I have gassed soldiers and Marines in enclosed buildings and out in the open, and been gassed myself more than a dozen times, both while in protective masks and clothing and without. And I watched the video of the victims in Syria today and they look nothing like anything I have ever seen in my experience with riot control agents, indeed they look exactly like what my Military training tells me victims of a chemical or nerve agent strike would look like.  

    What you allow, is what will continue.

    by Nebraskablue on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 10:41:12 PM PDT

  •  I can't believe that this is the sole diary on the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, Timari, ocschwar

    subject.  I saw the report on Bloomberg, which reported from London.  I can't believe the world could stand by and let this happen without consequence.  I am just numb.

    "There's been a little complication with my complication"

    by dash888 on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:31:14 AM PDT

  •  Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

    I couldn't bear to watch a video of this. I can manage to read the description and that is horrific enough.

  •  I am sorry beyond speech (0+ / 0-)

    for the child's death, and the others as well.

    But I am still skeptical about what is going on and think it is my duty to stick my neck out and say so, even in the face of grief. It may be exactly as you say. Unfortunately...

    One: for a decade now, some in this country have been doggedly seeking a casus belli with Syria.  

    Two: I am old enough to remember, not only the "mobile biological warfare" units of Saddam Hussein, and the "premature babies dragged out of incubators by soldiers," but even the "chemical warfare agent" in Viet Nam that turned out, at long last, to consist of bee feces.

    Three: I have worked in public relations, which tends to make one exceptionally, not to say cynically, cautious towards accepting certain kinds of claims wiith limited--and sometimes even what appears direct--evidence. For further details, see "Wag the Dog."

    Finally: I also grieve greatly for all the children who so far have died horribly in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in that region as "collateral damage" in two recent US wars.

    For example, there was one 4-year-old girl -- as reported in manstream media, somewhere in the first days of the latest Iraq war --who was shot by US soldiers when her familiy drove towards a US checkpoint, trying to escape from Baghdad. The soldiers took the vehicle for a potential threat to them. The child slowly died of cold and blood loss in the desert, just there outside the checkpoint, because our own soldiers would not allow her family into the checkpoint, or give any aid. Of course, they were just doing their jobs as they were trained to do. And there have been many more, but that particular little girl haunts me still.

    Indeed, I grieve for all the children, and other innocent persons, of this world who are caught in all the crossfires of adult instigated violence.

    May all sides be sure of their facts and think of all the consequences, before grabbing the latest weaponry and launching the next assualt, in the deluded belief that this is the way to bring peace and justice to a suffering people. Rarely has it been  so.

    •  I wrote this entry for a reason. (0+ / 0-)

      And that is to call out precisely the kind of talk you're engaging in. You're skeptical? Okay. Look at the video footage and tell me how you can sham the aftermath of a massive sarin gas attack.

      "One: for a decade now, some in this country have been doggedly seeking a casus belli with Syria.  "

      And for most of that decade, the Syrian camera wielders who gave us this footage have been doggedly trying to live their lives. Now they're running around with smartphones and docmumenting atrocities.

      Look at the video footage and tell me how you can sham the aftermath of a massive sarin gas attack.

      Two: I am old enough to remember, not only the "mobile biological warfare" units of Saddam Hussein, and the "premature babies dragged out of incubators by soldiers," but even the "chemical warfare agent" in Viet Nam that turned out, at long last, to consist of bee feces.

      These Syrians are quite probably not old enough to remember any of that.

      Now, look at the video footage and tell me how you can sham the aftermath of a massive sarin gas attack.


      Three: I have worked in public relations, which tends to make one exceptionally, not to say cynically, cautious towards accepting certain kinds of claims wiith limited--and sometimes even what appears direct--evidence. For further details, see "Wag the Dog."

      The Syrian cameramen have probably worked in every calling available to them.

      Now, look at the video footage and tell me how you can sham the aftermath of a massive sarin gas attack.


      Finally: I also grieve greatly for all the children who so far have died horribly in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in that region as "collateral damage" in two recent US wars.

      Very noble of you.

      Now, look at the video footage and tell me how you can sham the aftermath of a massive sarin gas attack.

      •  Does the video show who used the gas? (0+ / 0-)


        Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

        by Jim P on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:19:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can make an educated guess from context. (0+ / 0-)

          I.e. Assad.

          •  Someone knows the context? All I've seen (0+ / 0-)

            is propaganda over the years. Remember WMD in Iraq?

            And there's US strategy to destabilize/conquer Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Iran, and one other place, which has been public knowledge since PNAC.


            Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

            by Jim P on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:39:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Internet is really really great. (0+ / 0-)

              For context.

              •  And we know the alqaeda faction has (0+ / 0-)

                raided Syrian arms stores from it. For example.


                Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

                by Jim P on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 05:20:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  you have a fast connection so you dont have 2 wait (0+ / 0-)

                  for context.

                  Read the link I posted. Don't click on the videos. Jusr read.

                  •  Yeah I read. One claim. Then below that (0+ / 0-)

                    another claim from Russia about rebels firing a missile with an unknown payload. Not that there was any connection between this crime against humanity and the Russian report.

                    I'm just saying: I see MENA on the banner up there and I remember how a lot of criminally false statements about Iraq and other scenes have come from there.

                    We all know there's been a propaganda arm pushing for direct US involvement in Syria since 1995 or so.

                    We also know, according to one of the Joint Chiefs, that involvement there would be a quite literally, insane, for the US.

                    Without you can show me video of Asad forces launching the shit, I'm not for beating any drums. And you know what? Fuck, even if you could show me that, I'll go along with common sense and say, "let other nations work out their civil affairs."

                    I'm tired of the US being an effective ally of al qaeda: recruiting sergeant through the Muslim world; Libya, Iraq, and Syria as places where our enemies have gained footholds when they had none.

                    Our foreign policy is being run by lunatics. And I mean, technically, lunatics in the same way water is wet.


                    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

                    by Jim P on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 09:19:41 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  "A missile." (0+ / 0-)

                      I saw the video. Looks like a kassam rocket, one of those makeshift things you use cast iron pipes to make. Not something that will reliably deliver enough sarin to kill 1300 people.

                      In the mean time, that part of Damascus was being mortared to bits, by the Syrian army. That same army that does happen to have mortar shells designed to deliver sarin gas.

                      Put 2 and 2 together here.

                      If you spend your time trawling websites for "cui bono" bullshit instead of learning a little bit about the weaponry being used in this war, you'll fall down a rabbit hole.

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