Dan Kaszeta writes: [O]f all Hersh’s claims, his biggest evidentiary pitfall is in the Turkish Sarin hypothesis. Somehow, Hersh would have us all believe that there is a large factory somewhere in Turkey, a member of NATO and signatory to the OPCW. A factory of the necessary size to make tons of short-shelf life binary Sarin would be huge, at least similar in scale to the UK’s pilot plant that once stood in Nancekuke, Cornwall. It would have many employees, a supply chain of controlled and prohibited chemicals, and a waste stream that would be noticed. Where is this factory? Let us have an OPCW challenge inspection.
More importantly, would Turkey risk the international opprobrium to produce a weapon that, after all, has only limited actual tactical use? Somehow, this Sarin was produced, using a secret hexamine acid reduction process hitherto unknown to the world, and only mastered by Syria’s chemical weapons program. It was put into rockets that are exact copies of Syrian ones, down to the paint and bolts. The Sarin-filled rockets were smuggled via the “rat line” into Syria to Damascus, without a single one being caught. And quickly, I should add, due to the short shelf life of binary Sarin. Then they were supposed to be fired onto rebel areas from government positions without the Syrian regime knowing about it? It defies belief.
Finally, we get to the biggest deficit of all. Seymour Hersh seems unencumbered by the fact that the Assad regime confessed to having a chemical weapons research, development, and production program. Which is the more likely scenario? The Turkish-produced Sarin tale, which relies on a very dubious “inside source” in Washington and no accompanying physical evidence? Or the idea that the Assad regime, using a chemical warfare agent made according to a formula they confessed to, used rockets in their own inventory to attack from their own positions against rebel-held territory? History will tell us, eventually. But one of these tales is sounding more probable than the other.