The basis on which prison sentences are decided has always been – in civilised countries – that of ‘guilty beyond reasonable doubt’; – where the death penalty may be involved this would surely be a minimum requirement.

 So it is with some amazement that we face the prospect of a new war, with a likely death toll in the thousands or even millions, being launched by the self-titled ‘civilised world’ on the basis of ‘common sense’.  Yesterday a top Obama aide, Denis McDonough said that:

“We’ve seen the video proof of the outcome of those attacks. All of that leads to a quite strong common-sense test irrespective of the intelligence that suggests that the regime carried this out.”

Apparently it is not necessary to be certain of Assad’s guilt, as ‘this is not a court of law’; ‘common sense’ is sufficient: 

“Now do we have a picture or do we have irrefutable beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence? This is not a court of law and intelligence does not work that way. So what we do know and what we know the common-sense test says is he is responsible for this. He should be held to account.”

While it may seem to the impartial observer, and one who has had the benefit of hearing the considered opinion of Russian President Vladimir Putin, that this looks more like ‘uncommon nonsense’ – ‘utter nonsense’ was his description – the crude thinking of American officials may be better understood from their narrow perspective, which doesn’t consider the lives of ‘enemy’ as part of the equation. To them it is all about America:

“McDonough acknowledged the risks that military action could drag the U.S. into the middle of a brutal civil war” —

– and America’s friends and family –

“and endanger allies such as Israel with a retaliatory attack.”

But of course it’s all lies. America’s only concern from the start of its war against Syria some years ago has been to achieve its goals of expanding influence and helping Israel to build its apartheid state in the Arab world; a goal in which even US soldiers are expendable so long as their deaths don’t interfere with ‘the mission’.

And on this mission the US is intent; for Kerry this alleged ‘infringement of international norms’ has become a threat only previously shadowed by the Rwanda massacre and the Holocaust itself.  But like a medusa that sprouts new heads as fast as they are cut off, every day brings a new intensification and diversification of the US propaganda battle.  “Common Sense” was yesterday’s ruse; today it is that Assad must ‘surrender ALL his Chemical Weapons within a week, or the US will strike’. Using what little ‘common sense’ he has, Kerry observed that Assad is unlikely to comply with this ultimatum; he was evidently not expecting others to notice that Assad would be quite unable to comply with such an outrageous demand, or accept the convoys of – presumably – IDF trucks that would have to come into Syria to relieve him of this burden of mouldering and useless weaponry.

So what exactly is the US plan? Any fool can see that the storages of Chemical Weapons can’t be destroyed by a missile strike, or even by ‘boots on the ground’ – how many years were the UN inspectors tracking down Saddam Hussein’s stocks of Sarin, even though they had the receipts?

Does the US intend that some of these weapons will fall into the hands of Al Nusra, providing another pretext for invasion? Or do they not actually give a damn about them, realising that they aren’t actually a problem? One can only remember Rumsfeld – the known unknowns are the problem, but there may be unknown unknowns.

Rumfeld also said: “Stuff Happens” – and it’s about to.

To help us understand the likely truth – the almost incontrovertible evidence, and the commonest sense, there’s a great compilation of articles about the ‘Chemical Weapons attack on Damascus’ here: