From USA Today
The U.S. led airstrikes in a coordinated attack with U.K. and French allies against the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
Here’s what we know about the attack:
Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said precision missile strikes targeted three Syrian chemical weapons facilities: a scientific research center near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs and a storage facility and command post near Homs. Dunford said there was some “activity” by Syrian surface-to-air missiles, but there were no reports of U.S. or allied casualties.
Unleashing 105 missiles, the U.S., British and French forces leveled at least one building and set back the country’s chemical weapons program “for years,” Pentagon officials said. Trump called it a “perfectly executed strike” in a tweet Saturday.
When did it take place?
President Trump announced Friday that he ordered the missile strikes, which occurred around 4 a.m. Saturday in Syria. They were a predictable move, considering Trump made threats earlier in the week.
Why did the U.S. strike?
Trump said the strikes were intended to deter the use of chemical weapons like the attack on civilians in the Syrian town of Douma last week.
Syria has denied using chemical weapons. But Friday night, the White House released what it said was “a significant body of information” that pointed to the use of chlorine gas — and possibly also the deadly nerve agent sarin. That evidence includes victim statements, images of barrel bomb fragments and reliable reports of Syrian government helicopters in the area.
THAT does not sound like sufficient intel to bomb a sovereign nation, a sovereign nation, I might add, that is involved in a fierce war with insurgent rebels who are not only capable of committing an atrocity exactly like this and blaming it on Assad, but have done it before.
What are others saying about the attack?
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the airstrikes an “act of aggression” and a “destructive influence on the entire system of international relations.” Syria’s President Bashar Assad announced that his country would respond, while Russia’s ambassador to Washington warned of unspecified “consequences.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack “sends a clear message that the international community will not stand by and tolerate the use of chemical weapons.”
But, Theresa, shouldn’t you have a wee bit more evidence, like lockdown, no-doubt-about-it, absolute proof that it was Assad who committed the attack? There have been about 70,000 barrel bombs used in the Syrian Civil War since 2012. Only 1% of the casualties have been Syrian rebels. 97% have been civilians, 25% of which were children.
Assad is not a stupid man. Would he really continue these attacks with such a low return on investment?
Where is the evidence that it was Assad who committed these attacks? I have seen none!
“Friday night, the White House released what it said was “a significant body of information” that pointed to the use of chlorine gas — and possibly also the deadly nerve agent sarin. That evidence includes victim statements, images of barrel bomb fragments and reliable reports of Syrian government helicopters in the area.”
THAT is sufficient to bomb a sovereign country? Really?
If President Trump wants to escape this horrific mistake he had better produce documented PROOF that it was Assad who committed this atrocity. He had better do it quickly and be sure it reaches the eyes and ears of every American across flyover country. Otherwise, I fear he will lose massive support.
I have to believe that if this proof existed, it would have been presented already. If it exists, it should be presented now.
So far, at best, this appears to be a terrible mistake by a president who is not exactly a rookie anymore.
What happens next?
It’s hard to predict how any of the various forces in Syria will react. Opposition forces, including the Islamic State, might try to take advantage of a weakened Assad. Iran and Russia could step up their involvement in the country.
Putin said Russia will call for an emergency meeting of the United Nations’ Security Council.
Trump said the the U.S. was prepared to continue the attacks until the Syrian regime stops using chemical weapons.
I would like answers to the following questions:
- Where is the proof that Assad committed this atrocity? President Trump needs to show his hand on this and do it soon. The “chlorine gas was used and there were Syrian government helicopters in the area” explanation is not proof. It is not even good evidence. It’s Syria. There are Syrian government helicopters EVERYWHERE!
- Would it be implausible that Syrian rebels waited for Syrian government helicopters to be in the area, then detonated barrel bombs on the ground, or by mortar or artillery? Of course, it isn’t implausible. It is very possible.
- What could be Assad’s possible motive for doing this? He is winning the Civil War, which appeared to be in its final stages when our president decided to attack him based upon intelligence that appears dubious, at best. Assad has been a secular, well-educated, Western-dressing leader who has a long history of going to great lengths to protect large communities of Jews and Christians in his country. Again, where is his motive for committing this atrocity? I see none!
- Did President Trump talk to Assad or Putin about this? They claim it was the rebels who committed the gas attack.
- Wouldn’t it have been a good idea to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter instead of the knee-jerk airstrike based upon “chlorine gas was used and there were Syrian government helicopters in the area”?
- Where is the US interest in this? Isn’t President Trump the leader who said that the US is involved in fights it should not be involved in, like SYRIA? Didn’t he promise to pull us out of Syria? How does this airstrike, which is more American involvement and a dangerous escalation, keep that promise?
- Why doesn’t President Trump get our resources out of the Middle East and put them on our borders?
Let’s stop playing “world cop” and take care of America, which is called “minding your own business” or as candidate Trump was wont to say during his campaign for President, “America First.”
Here is all the information you need to know about how awesome the Syrian rebels are, who the US is backing:
John McCain was the guy who said the rebels are wonderful people and set up the US backing by Barack Hussein (just another Hussein intentional fuck up!). They aren’t wonderful people. They are terrorists. If they win this war, Syria will be another Lybia, a lawless territory where competing terrorist groups, ISIS and al-Nusra (the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), fight to control the country. Both want to make Syria an Islamic state under their control. The Syrian people will be the victims of the continued civil war if Assad is deposed. The large communities of Jews and Christians in Syria will be butchered.
In reality, the US should be backing Assad and Russia in destroying the so-called rebels, who are nothing more than bloodthirsty, radical Islamic terrorists.
I believe the best remedy to this mistake is for President Trump and John Bolton (who I fear may be the primary advisor responsible for the President’s rash and hasty decision) to sit down with Assad and Putin, apologize profusely, then set about getting out of their way and letting them destroy the terrorist networks causing the Syrian people so much misery.
In the spirit of cooperation, we can also agree to help them get rid of the terrorists, but I prefer we simply get the hell out of there and allow Assad and Putin deal with it.
I agree with President Trump on just about everything and have been among his most ardent supporters, but I fervently disagree with this attack, based upon what We the People know thus far.
One need look no farther than the fact that Hillary Clinton applauded this attack on Syria to realize what a terrible mistake it was.
Thankfully, many others are seeing the truth….
H/T Sandy Tabor