Photo credit: S.K. Vemmer/Department of State (Public Domain)
Photo credit: S.K. Vemmer/Department of State (Public Domain)
Secretary of State Kerry acknowledges Syrian chlorine gas attacks.
Photo credit: S.K. Vemmer/Department of State (Public Domain)

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican presidential candidate, said that President Obama is now left to explain his argument that chlorine gas is not a chemical weapon after Secretary of State John Kerry said that he is “absolutely certain” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is using chlorine gas to attack its own people.

The Hill reports:

I am absolutely certain, we are certain that the preponderance of those attacks have been carried out by the regime,” Kerry said Tuesday during a surprise appearance at the State Department’s daily press briefing, noting that it’s possible that some members of the opposition could have used chlorine in attacks as well.

“It has been significantly documented; it’s dropped from airplane. The opposition isn’t flying airplanes or helicopters,” he said.

“And you can go through a certain sort of tracking of the delivery system and delivery approach. It’s frankly not that hard to pin down in the end, and that’s some of what we will lay out at the appropriate time.”

“President Obama said Assad must go, but did nothing to make it happen. He said use of chemical weapons is a line Assad must not cross. Assad did, with no consequence. Now President Obama is left to argue chlorine gas attacks on the Syrian people are not chemical warfare. There is a great price to be paid when America does not lead, and innocent Syrian civilians are paying that price today,” Perry said in a released statement.

President Obama in May said that chlorine gas is not ‘historically” considered a chemical weapon.

The effects of high-level exposures of chlorine gas according to the National Institute of Health include:

Concentrations of about 400 ppm and beyond are generally fatal over 30 minutes, and at 1,000 ppm and above, fatality ensues within only a few minutes. A spectrum of clinical findings may be present in those exposed to high levels of chlorine. Because chlorine is more than twice as dense as air, it tends to “settle” near where it is released unless dispersed by air movements. Thus, locally very high concentrations can occur in the immediate vicinity of its release. This can result in asphyxia with respiratory failure, pulmonary edema, likely acute pulmonary hypertension, cardiomegaly, pulmonary vascular congestion, acute burns of the upper and especially the proximal lower airways, and death.

Chlorine gas was used for chemical warfare during World War I with deadly results early on for soldiers who didn’t have any protection.

“By April, German chemists had tested a method of releasing chlorine gas from pressurised cylinders and thousands of French Algerian troops were smothered in a ghostly green cloud of chlorine at the second Battle of Ypres. With no protection, many died from the agonies of suffocation,” BBC Magazine documented in an article on the poisonous gas of World War I.

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