World View: President Trump Plans Military Action on Syria After Nerve Gas Attack on Civilians

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

This morning’s key headlines from

  • President Trump plans military action on Syria after horrific nerve gas attack on civilians
  • President Trump declares that he’s changed his mind about military action
  • Marco Rubio says Trump’s policy emboldened Bashar al-Assad
  • John McCain and Lindsey Graham advocate cruise missiles and safe areas

President Trump plans military action on Syria after horrific nerve gas attack on civilians

In a very dramatic gesture, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley at the Security Council stands and displays picture of baby killed by nerve gas and excoriates Russia's ambassador for supporting al-Assad, saying, 'How many more children have to die before Russia cares?'
In a very dramatic gesture, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley at the Security Council stands and displays picture of baby killed by nerve gas and excoriates Russia’s ambassador for supporting al-Assad, saying, ‘How many more children have to die before Russia cares?’

President Donald Trump on Wednesday made it clear that he is planning some sort of action against Syria. Although he did not specify what kind of action, saying that he did not want to telegraph his plans, he did imply that military action is planned.

The change of mind was triggered by a horrific chemical nerve gas attack on Syrian civilians on Monday, indiscriminately killing dozens of people. The pictures of children being killed apparently particularly affected Trump. The nerve gas was delivered in bombs on warplanes, which could only have been warplanes from the regime of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad. After the nerve gas attack, another missile attack struck the hospital where nerve gas attacks had been taken, effectively putting the hospital out of service. There was clearly an intent to kill as many people as possible, including women and children.

Syrian state media denied that that Syria was responsible:

The government of the Syrian Arab republic categorically denies the allegations and false accusations about the use of poisonous, chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab army in Khan Sheikhoun region against Syrian civilians who are besieged by the armed terrorist groups as human shields there, Syria also affirms that the Syrian army doesn’t possess any kind of chemical weapons and it has not used them and it won’t use them in the future.

The above statement contains known lies. Syria has provably used Sarin gas and chlorine gas in bombs in the past. No part of the above statement is credible, in view of the evidence. ARA News (Syria) and SANA (Damascus)

Related Articles

President Trump declares that he’s changed his mind about military action

At a news conference on Tuesday, Trump commented on Monday’s nerve gas attack in Syria, explaining why he changed his mind:

Yesterday, a chemical attack – a chemical attack that was so horrific, in Syria, against innocent people, including women, small children, and even beautiful little babies. Their deaths was an affront to humanity. These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerate…

Well, I think the Obama administration had a great opportunity to solve this crisis a long time ago when he said the red line in the sand. And when he didn’t cross that line after making the threat, I think that set us back a long ways, not only in Syria, but in many other parts of the world, because it was a blank threat. I think it was something that was not one of our better days as a country. …

I now have responsibility, and I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly, I will tell you that. It is now my responsibility. It was a great opportunity missed…

It crossed a lot of lines for me. When you kill innocent children, innocent babies — babies, little babies — with a chemical gas that is so lethal — people were shocked to hear what gas it was — that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line. Many, many lines.

In 2013, Bashar al-Assad launched a Sarin gas attack against civilians, after President Barack Obama has said that doing so would “cross a red line.” At that time, Trump tweeted the following:


However, Trump has now reversed those sentiments, and is blaming Obama for not intervening in 2013. However, he’s not calling it “a flip-flop,” instead ascribing it to flexibility:

I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don’t have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way, I don’t change. Well, I do change and I am flexible, and I’m proud of that flexibility. And I will tell you, that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me — big impact. That was a horrible, horrible thing. And I’ve been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn’t get any worse than that.

And I have that flexibility, and it’s very, very possible — and I will tell you, it’s already happened that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much. And if you look back over the last few weeks, there were other attacks using gas. You’re now talking about a whole different level.

He says that he will not reveal his plans, but implies that the plans are military (as opposed to, say, sanctions):

Well, one of the things I think you’ve noticed about me is, militarily, I don’t like to say where I’m going and what I doing. And I watched past administrations say, we will attack at such and such a day at such and such an hour…

I watched Mosul, where the past administration was saying, we will be attacking in four months. And I said, why are they doing that? Then a month goes by, and they say, we will be attacking in three months, and then two months, and then we will be attacking next week. And I’m saying, why are they doing that? And as you know, Mosul turned out to be a much harder fight than anyone thought, and a lot of people have been lost in that fight. I’m not saying I’m doing anything one way or the other, but I’m certainly not going to be telling you, as much as I respect you, John.

White House

Marco Rubio says Trump’s policy emboldened Bashar al-Assad

In the past, I’ve criticized President Obama for flip-flopping on his “red line” statement. My point was not that military action should have been pursued. My point was that Obama should never have made a threat that he wasn’t going to act upon, since flip-flopping only emboldened Bashar al-Assad to commit worse atrocities.

Now Senator Marco Rubio is making a similar criticism of President Trump. He’s referring to recent statements by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the Trump administration no longer plans to demand that Bashar al-Assad step down.

According to Rubio:

In this case now, we have very limited options and look, it’s concerning that the Secretary of State, 72 hours ago or a week ago, last Friday, said that the future’s up to the people in Syria on what happens with Assad. In essence almost nodding to the idea that Assad was gonna get to stay in some capacity.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a few days later we see this.

Rubio’s claim is quite plausible.

One might ask what al-Assad’s motivation was for ordering Monday’s horrific nerve gas attack. It was so outrageous, and so likely to backfire politically, that it really makes no sense.

Every time I write that Bashar al-Assad is psychopathic monster and war criminal committing genocide against Sunni Muslims in Syria, I get criticized by al-Assad acolytes and paid Russian trolls. But I don’t think that there is any doubt about this. Bashar al-Assad is the worst war criminal so far this century, with a psychopathic desire to exterminate all Sunni civilians. Nothing else can explain this insane action.

Al-Assad has never agreed to the peace that was agreed a few months ago in Astana, Kazakhstan, between Iran, Russia and Turkey. In fact, he has never shown any interest in participating in any peace process. I’ve pointed out many times, that al-Assad clearly has no intention of doing anything but torturing, slaughtering, and exterminating as many Sunni civilians as possible.

Al-Assad has apparently been controlling his urges for political reasons for the last few months. Trump’s previous reluctance for military action in Syria, reaffirmed by Tillerson’s claims that the US would no longer demand that al-Assad step down have given a free ticket to al-Assad to do anything he wanted, and like an alcoholic who suddenly is told he can start drinking again, al-Assad suddenly felt freed to do whatever he wanted. I believe that that’s what Rubio meant, and I agree with it. International Business Times

John McCain and Lindsey Graham advocate cruise missiles and safe areas

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham were interviewed on Fox News on Wednesday evening. Although they were interviewed separately, they made exactly the same points:

  • Military action is required.
  • Barack Obama is at fault for not solving this problem earlier.
  • Cruise missiles should be used to disable al-Assad’s air force.
  • Safe zones should be set up so that Syrian refugees in Europe and America could return to Syria.

Here are the remarks of John McCain (my transcription):

Those are horrible, and I spoke to the president this morning. He’s angry as he well should be , and he’s consulting with his military leadership, as well as his Secretary of State, and I have some optimism that he will take some concrete action here.

He is obviously, as we all are, appalled.

Could I make two points. One, this is a legacy of Barack Obama. The last time this happened, Barack Obama said they crossed a red line, called me and Lindsey Graham down to the White House, and did NOTHING. You know, one thing worse than doing nothing is saying you’re going to do something as the most powerful leader on earth, and doing nothing.

So this is a legacy of Barack Obama, and it’s been going on for the intervening four years. So what we need to do, we need to stop Bashar Assad’s planes from flying. And we can do that easily. Just say don’t fly, or you’re gonna get shot down, and if you start operating out of the six bases that they have, we’re going to crater your runways with cruise missiles and other weapons. 41:54

But you can’t fly because we’re not gonna let you drop nerve gas. We’re not gonna let you drop chlorine. We’re not gonna let you drop barrel bombs.

You know what barrel bombs are? They’re large cylindical things filled with shrapnel. And they explode about 20 feet above the ground, and they indiscriminately kill people.

He’s got to be stopped from flying, and we can stop him easily, using our cruise missiles and other capabilities. and we’ll tell the Russians, it’s your guy, you can join us in stopping him from flying and committing these war crimes.

Then I would have safe zones, and there’s a lot of other things, but the first thing we gotta do is stop his ability to slaughter people.

Here are the remarks of Lindsey Graham (my transcription):

QUESTION: “What should President Trump do to Syria?”

GRAHAM: Destroy his air power and create a safe zone in Syria where this never happens again.”

QUESTION: “We’d have to bomb their airfields, right? There are Russian planes there.”

GRAHAM: “They should move them.

Then I would make sure that the people in Idlib would never be bombed again by Assad. There would be safe havens where people could go back to Syria from Europe and the United States. Talk won’t do it. This is a time for Pres Trump to show the world he’s not President Obama.

This is a horrible event out of which could come an opportunity to reset the Mideast, to establish his presidency as something different than Obama, to send a dictator to everyone in the world there’s a new sheriff in town. And if he would actually hold Assad accountable and protect the innocent people of Syria, it would help us in Iran and North Korea and everywhere else.

As I’ve been writing for years, Generational Dynamics predicts that Iran and the West will be allies in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, and that China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the US, India, Russia and Iran. In the Mideast, Generational Dynamics predicts a full-scale Mideast war, pitting Jews against Arabs, Sunnis against Shias, and various ethnic groups against each other.

These predictions will come true with absolute certainty, and it would have made no difference whether Trump or Hillary Clinton had been elected president. The events of the last two days are a major step forward along that trend line.

Related Articles

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Barack Obama, Marco Rubio, Rex Tillerson, John McCain, Lindsey Graham
Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.