The Daily Shot, Ricochet, June 28, 2017

The White House released a statement late Monday warning the Assad regime that if they carried out another chemical weapons attack they would “pay a heavy price.” The warning came following apparent preparations similar to those observed before the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack in April. That attack saw the US launch 59 cruise missiles in response.

So the US military observed this going on and the information worked its way up to the White House who then went through the proper channels before deciding to publicly threaten a sovereign government? No, apparently not. Military officials were taken unaware when the statement was made. But this kind of thing might be so top secret, or come from sources secret enough, that not everyone would know.

There has already been extensive use of chemical weapons during the Syrian Civil War. The Wikipedia lists 66 separate attacks. And it’s worth noting that while there’s a global taboo against the use of chemical weapons, that taboo isn’t the same in the Middle East and Africa. The Syrian Civil War is just the latest conflict to see the use of these WMDs. Chemical weapons have been used in North Yemen, Rhodesia, Angola, and the Iran-Iraq war. In fact, there are still 70,000 chemically affected veterans of the latter conflict in Iran today, many with severe PTSD related to chemical warfare.