Dubious claims made by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and other members of the Obama administration regarding Syria have attracted jeers and catcalls from conservatives following this week’s sarin gas attack. Contrary to their repeated assertions, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did not destroy his chemical weapons stockpile, in violation of the Obama administration’s much-touted chemical weapons deal of 2013.
“There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council,” President Trump said.
Via Fox News:
Video footage from the chemical attack scene immediately raised credibility problems for claims made by members of the Obama administration that the prior agreement had rid the war-torn country of chemical agents.
During an interview this past January with National Public Radio, former National Security Adviser Rice touted the “success” in Syria, in striking a deal with Russia’s help that resulted in the prior administration dropping the threat of military action.
“We were able to find a solution that didn’t necessitate the use of force that actually removed the chemical weapons that were known from Syria, in a way that the use of force would never have accomplished,” she boasted. “We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile.”
Other members of the Obama administration also boasted about removing chemical weapons in Syria.
In July 2014, then-Secretary of State John Kerry went on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to discuss the September 2013 deal that resulted in Russia agreeing to help confiscate and then destroy Syria’s stockpile.
“We struck a deal where we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out,” Kerry claimed.
At the time, the fact-checking website PolitiFact found Kerry’s comments to be “mostly true.” However, given new evidence that Assad had recently used chemical weapons against his own people, PolitiFact was forced to revisit and revise its assessment of Kerry’s claims.
“We don’t know key details about the reported chemical attack in Syria on April 4, 2017, but it raises two clear possibilities: Either Syria never fulling complied with its 2013 promise to reveal all of its chemical weapons; or it did, but then converted otherwise non-lethal chemicals to military uses.
“One way or another, subsequent events have proved Kerry wrong,” the site ruled.
(Rest assured, Politifact would not allow “the test of time” to be the arbiter of any similar claim made by a Republican. It would have been rated 100% pants-on-fire false from the get-go.)
According to an August 2016 UN report, Assad has used chlorine gas against civilians on two separate occasions since the 2013 deal, in clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Yet despite that report, members of the Obama administration continued to proudly tout the joint U.S.-and-Russia brokered deal, telling their media echo chamber that they had successfully disarmed Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal.
On Jan. 6, 2015, then-White House Press Secretary [Josh] Earnest praised Russia for its role in destroying the chemical weapons stockpile of the Assad regime.
“That was an important step, because it reduced, or essentially eliminated, the proliferation risk from that declared chemical weapons stockpile, that we could essentially destroy those chemical weapons and ensure that terrorists would not be able to get their hands on them and use them in other places.”
Five months later on June 17, 2015, Earnest said that the “declared chemical weapons stockpile that Assad previously denied existed has now been acknowledged, rounded up, removed from the country and destroyed precisely because of the work of this administration and our successful efforts to work with the Russians to accomplish that goal.”
Susan Rice, in particular, has come under fire for making politically convenient but provably false comments to the press in the past. Most recently, she grabbed headlines when it was revealed that she had ordered the unmasking of Trump transition officials’ names in surveillance intercepts after denying any knowledge of the “incidental collection of intelligence” on said Trump transition officials.
After being busted lying about Benghazi, Bowe Bergdahl, Syria’s chemical weapons, and Trump team surveillance, the liberal media — including (surprise!) Politifact — continues to give Rice’s claims credence.