Progressive Caucus Smacks Down Questioning Veracity of Syria Intel

From the beginning, I have urged the debate over Syria to be conducted on the basis of a bare-bones, basic, bottom line: that we accept the intelligence assessment publicly released as fact. I have said that while I am squarely in the liberal interventionist camp while it come to Syria, it is possible to oppose intervention in Syria without questioning the veracity of the intelligence assessment (or, in effect, calling the president a liar). I have asked for that to happen because a president who affords the American people the respect to end the imperial presidency deserves to himself be afforded the respect that the intelligence assessment he released isn't a set of lies.

Sec. Kerry's testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday provided a compelling case for just that, as Kerry testified that no intelligence agency within the US had come to a different conclusion.

But for those who still insisted on questioning - as part of their opposition to military strikes in Syria - whether or not the chemical weapons that were launched were in fact launched by the Syrian government, none other than the Congressional Progressive Caucus shut the door on that pretty good yesterday.
“They assured us they’re taking everything into account,” [Congresswoman Barbara] Lee said. “I do have to say the president and this administration have been very careful and very methodical in how they’ve been approaching this.” [...]

Lee, however, says she remains unpersuaded. “They’ve been very persuasive about the intelligence and the fact that we must do something,” Lee says. “They were not persuasive for me that the only option right now is a military option.”
The Congressional Progressive Caucus, most of whose members seem, at least at this point, sure 'no' votes to any use of force resolution against Syria, has taken the exact track I have hoped everyone on all sides of this debate would take: the question is one of judgment, not the facts of the intelligence. The CPC has now accepted the veracity of the intelligence that it was in fact Assad's regime that launched the chemical weapons attacks that perished over 400 innocent children and over 1,400 civilians.

For anyone on the progressive side at least, that should end the murmurs questioning whether the administration has provided conclusive evidence of the Assad regime's culpability in the Syrian chemical attack. Anyone who isn't willing to drop that line simply cannot be taken seriously, and in light of the CPC's stand, they begin to sound increasingly like conspiracy theorists.


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