Remembering Clinton and Obama on Israeli Bombing of Syria

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Seymour Hersh has written a new article about Israel’s bombing of Syria last September. Laura Rozen may have more to say about it, but it seems inconclusive. No one—Israeli, Syrian, or American—has a convincing explanation of what happened. But certainly there doesn’t appear to be strong evidence Syria truly was, as Israel claimed, building a nuclear reactor. Moreover, the hazy evidence, long links of supposition, and hints of other agendas are strongly reminiscent of the Iraq/WMD story.

With that in mind, it’s interesting to remember what Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were saying about the bombing soon afterward, at the September 27 MSNBC debate. Here’s Clinton:

CLINTON: [W]e don’t have as much information as we wish we did. But what we think we know is that with North Korean help, both financial and technical and material, the Syrians apparently were putting together, and perhaps over some period of years, a nuclear facility, and the Israelis took it out. I strongly support that…there was evidence of a North Korea freighter coming in with supplies. There was intelligence and other kinds of verification.

And here’s Obama:

OBAMA: Now, we don’t know exactly what happened with respect to Syria. We’ve gotten general reports, but we don’t know all the specifics. We got general reports in the run-up to the Iraq war that proved erroneous, and a lot of people voted for that war as a consequence.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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