Clarity Needed Here

The US/Syria debacle is a profound mixture of many, many shades of grey. The executive branch is doing its usual clandestine arm twisting and bribing, to bring its wishes to fruition. Its minions, Pelosi and Reid, are working 24/7 to influence their respective colleagues. Generals, ordinarily supportive of American involvement, are expressing caution. Obama’s chief opponents in the House, Boehner and Cantor, are now supporting him. Oddly, members of Obama’s own Party seem to be a potential stumbling block. Both the Senate and the House have members who are against White House war mongering, or are expressing their lack of commitment. McCain and Graham are flapping their hawkish wings, as usual. In the midst of this political conundrum, only a small minority of American citizens support Obama’s plan to declare war on Syria. A decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan has gone really well, hasn’t it? Britain, our staunchest ally in our Asiatic neo-colonialism, has opted out, and Russia firmly denounces our intentions, even to the point of Vladimir Putin calling John Kerry a liar.

One fact stands out. Sarin, allegedly the weapon deployed in Syria, is twenty times more lethal than cyanide; twenty times as deadly. Doctors Without Borders has estimated thousands of victims, but only three hundred and fifty fatalities from the incident. The symptoms of Sarin poisoning include pinpoint pupils, profuse tearing up, an unstoppable running nose, uncontrollable urinary and fecal incontinence, profuse vomiting, to the point of dry heaves, and irreversible, violent seizure reactions. Death occurs in seconds to minutes. Needless to say, it is a very morbid and nasty death. The flies in the ointment, here, are that the numbers are flipped, and very few patients have complained of uncontrollable vomiting. In Sarin poisoning, the death toll should be thousands killed, with, perhaps, the three hundred and fifty number representing the very few survivors, not the other way around. A lack of universal vomiting creates doubt, as to the actual toxic agent, deployed by a still unknown predator.

The symptoms demonstrated by the thousands of victims are identified with classic anti-cholinesterase poisoning. Sarin is an anti-cholinesterase agent.  However, so are most all insecticides dropped by crop dusters, and even those used in the home. Malathion is a perfect example. A drunk presented to a north Phoenix ER, years ago, having consumed an unknown quantity of Malathion from a vodka bottle. He sat back on his gurney, grinning stupidly, and looking around the treatment area, as he awaited helicopter transport to the most appropriate facility, a poison center. If one may safely drink wood alcohol, after it has been strained through bread, then Malathion in a vodka bottle should be perfectly safe, too. All personnel involved with the patient were wearing full personal protective equipment, including disposable gowns. Sill, they required decontamination procedures, after the patient encounter.  The ER was closed, until housekeeping effectively cleaned the entire area. The responding paramedic fire engine and its crew were taken out of service for hours for a thorough decontamination, as was the ambulance and its crew.  So was the medical helicopter and crew, after completing their mission.

The curious thing about anti-cholinesterase toxins is that they exude from the victim’s breath and skin, contaminating anything, or anyone, coming in contact. Close examination of caregivers in the Syrian incident reveals few, if any precautions were taken, and no caregiver complained of cholinergic symptoms, later. Western hubris that Syrians are too ignorant or too reckless to protect themselves from an assumed toxin must not even be considered. If we assume ‘weapons of mass destruction’ are commonly used in the Middle East, then we must assume local medical professionals are familiar with the hazards of exposure, and would act accordingly. Had Sarin, indeed, been deployed, not only would the death toll have been higher, caregivers would have been exposed and become symptomatic, themselves. Neither case happened.

With flipped numbers, a paucity of certain symptoms, and a lack of contamination of persons in contact with the victims, Sarin exposure must be ruled out. It just doesn’t add up. Cholinergic symptoms were present, in the effected population, but not the profound effects from a generalized deployment of Sarin. Not only do we not know who perpetrated this heinous act, we are not even certain of the toxic agent. The conclusion is that had a militarized nerve agent been deployed by a government, the morbidity and mortality would have been far greater. We still have not accurately identified the persons responsible. Rather than dancing to the beat of the White House war drum, the western world, especially Congress, needs to await UN findings, and be skeptical, very skeptical. All is not as it seems.

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About Stefan Jacke

MagicRobert presented me with a vellum document, composed in an insane script. We were in a well secured vault in the Michener Library. His face exploded into a broad smile, as he saw me recognize the words, "That government governs best which governs least." It was a copy of "On Civil Disobedience" in the author's own hand. The experience called to mind a conversation Henry David Thoreau had with Ralph Waldo Emerson, as Thoreau sat in a jail cell, incarcerated for protesting the Mexican War. Emerson asked, "David, what are you doing in there?" Thoreau responded, "The point is, Ralph, what are you doing out there?" Once, long ago, I jumped off of big red trucks, lifted weights, and cleaned toilets for a living. Then I wrestled drunks, ran around in circles, and got splattered with blood and all manner of body fluids for a living. Now I enjoy the stillness of early morning in my rocking chair on the porch, with a hot cup of coffee, trying in vain to forget the past. Thank you, Robert!
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