The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

September 13, 2013

Lessons for Syria chemical weapons

WASHINGTON — Three decades after the United States started destroying its own chemical weapons, the nation’s stockpile stands at more than 3,000 tons — about three times what the U.S. now says Syrian President Bashar Assad controls.

Taken together, the remaining U.S. arsenal weighs about as much as three dozen Boeing 737s loaded for takeoff. And while the U.S. has made significant progress, eradicating 90 percent of the 31,500 tons it once possessed, the military doesn’t expect to complete destruction until 2023.

Deadlines have come and gone, and been extended. And, like other countries, the United States has found that complying with the Chemical Weapons Convention that banned such weaponry isn’t easy to do.

Now, as the U.S. and others push Syria to surrender its arsenal, the steep challenges that have hindered America’s efforts for a generation illustrate the daunting task of securing and ultimately dismantling Assad’s stockpiles in the middle of a civil war.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were meeting over two days with chemical weapons experts in Geneva to discuss how to do exactly that. They hoped to emerge with the outlines of a plan.

Although the death toll in Syria from conventional weapons has surpassed 100,000, it wasn’t until the U.S. said it determined that Assad’s government had used chemical weapons on a large scale that President Barack Obama seriously threatened military action.

That’s because chemical weapons, Obama says, are different.

“Men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas. Others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath,” Obama told the nation Tuesday night, describing the Aug. 21 attack that the U.S. says killed more than 1,400 Syrians, including hundreds of children. “On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons, and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits.”

1
Text Only
National News
  • Police: Utah woman gave birth at home

    A Utah woman accused of concealing seven pregnancies before strangling or suffocating her newborns gave birth each time in her home, authorities said Wednesday.

    Investigators have determined that Megan Huntsman, 39, did not go to a hospital to have the babies, Pleasant Grove Police Capt. Mike Roberts said. He didn't say if anybody helped her give birth.

    April 16, 2014

  • Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings

    Classes resumed Wednesday at a Pittsburgh-area high school where authorities said a student stabbed or slashed 21 others and a security guard a week ago while rampaging through a hallway with two kitchen knives.

    Before school began, some students gathered at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday on the football field behind Franklin Regional High School to pray and to support one another.

    April 16, 2014

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 16, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 16, 2014

  • Police: GPS helped solve, didn't deter Calif. killings SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- GPS technology helped police link two convicted sex offenders to the rapes and killings of at least four women in California, but the mother of one victim said Tuesday that the monitoring system should have done more to prev

    April 16, 2014

  • Smithsonian Tyrannosaurus Rex-15 [Duplicate] T. rex gets new home in Smithsonian WASHINGTON -- More than 100 years after dinosaurs were first displayed on the National Mall, T. rex -- the king -- is joining the Smithsonian collection after a 2,000-mile journey from Montana. Paleontologists and curators unveiled parts of a nearly

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical Marijuana [Duplicate] Medical pot measure could boost Florida Democrats MIAMI -- Tied to an unpopular president and his signature health care law, Democrats in the nation's largest swing state see medical marijuana as a potential antidote to political malaise in this year's midterm elections. Party operatives are pushing

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Old Social Security debts get reprieved WASHINGTON -- People with old Social Security debts are getting a reprieve -- for now. The Social Security Administration had been participating in a program in which thousands of people were having their tax refunds seized to recoup overpayments tha

    April 16, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • US anti-Semitic attacks down before Kansas deaths

    A group monitoring anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. cautiously noted a sharp decline in such incidents less than two weeks before the fatal shootings over the weekend outside two Jewish sites in suburban Kansas City.

    April 15, 2014

AP Video
Facebook