Like many of you, I am watching the coverage of the U.S. and coalition strikes against Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad’s chemical weapons production facilities this past Friday, April 13th, 2018.
Was striking Syria the right thing to do? I believe that it was.
Chemical and biological weapons are inhuman, and they are illegal in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention – an arms control treaty that outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and their precursors. The United States, Syria, Russian and Iran – along with just about every other major nation on the planet, including North Korea – are all signatories of this treaty.
In fact, well-established international law prohibiting chemical and biological weapons dates back at least as far as the 1925 Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, known as the “Geneva Protocol”.
Yet the Syrians have used these illegal weapons MANY times in the past several years, including last week, and the Russians used them just last month trying to assassinate a former Russian spy in Salisbury, England.
What proof does the United States have that the Syrians actually used chemical weapons? I think the U.S. delivered sufficient proof of that to the United Nations last week, and you can bet that proof was presented to President Trump almost immediately after this most recent Syrian chemical weapons attack. More importantly we provided sufficient proof of this heinous war crime to the United Kingdom and to France – both of whom participated in this strike alongside the U.S. – and neither nation is led, at the moment, by folks that are overly enamored with President Trump.
But let’s say for the sake of argument that the Syrians did NOT use chemical weapons in this particular instance. The Human Rights Watch and the Arms Control Association both provide timelines of illegal Syrian use of chemical weapons dating back to at least 2012, which they call “widespread and systematic.”
There will be those who NEVER believe the truth until a dead Syrian child is brought to their home, choked with froth from their own lungs and reeking of chlorine, but the truth is still the truth. So, yes, Syrian government forces used chemical weapons a great many times up to and almost certainly including last week, and both the Russians, and the Iranians knew about it and supported it.
Does Syria still have more chemical weapons at other locations? They almost certainly do, but I bet they think twice about using them in the future.
You may recall that in June of 2014 the Russians guaranteed the world that they had supervised the destruction of all of Assad’s chemical weapons stockpiles and the deactivation of all related production facilities. Despite this guarantee – one that was widely and triumphantly heralded by President Obama soldiers like Susan Rice on Sunday morning talk shows – the Syrians used chemical weapons straight through 2014, and every few months every year right through to President Trump’s first attack on Syria on April 6th of last year, only a few months after he took office. After that the Syrians stopped using chemical weapons until February 1st of this year, and then again on April 7th – that last attack prompting President Trump to re-attack Syria’s chemical weapons facilities… you know, the ones the Russians assured us had been dismantled.
Did we try to topple the Assad regime in Syria? No, we did not. In fact, President Trump specifically stated that was not our intention, and the strikes he ordered show exactly that. If that had been our intention we would have attacked Syrian government facilities, military command and control locations, government-controlled TV and radio stations, and the like.
Should we try to topple the Assad regime? That would not be my course of action. The Allied Forces took that course in World War Two because of the threat to the entire world posed by the Axis Forces, but for the most part attempts at regime change seldom succeed… especially in the Middle East, as we have seen in Afghanistan, although the verdict is still out on Iraq.
Did we try to swing the balance of power in the Syrian Civil War from the Syrian government to their rebel antagonists? No, we did not. Again, President Trump specifically stated that was not our intention, and the strikes he ordered show exactly that. If that had been our intention we would have attacked Assad’s military aircraft and airfields, armored vehicles and troop barracks. We might impose a “no-fly zone” in the airspace over Syria like we did over Iraq as we tried to weaken Saddam Hussein.
Will the U.S. enter the Syrian Civil War? I don’t believe we will; at least I don’t believe that is President Trump’s intention. In fact, President Trump has just recently expressed serious misgivings about the forces we do have in the region that are engaged in combatting ISIS.
You will note that it is the American Liberal Left – led by none other than Nancy Pelosi herself – that are suddenly insistent that President Trump does involve the United States directly in the Syrian Civil War. You have to ask yourself why they now take this position, when they never pressed President Obama to do the same. Normally the “nothing is worth war” crowd would be wringing their hands and chanting their predictable mantra that our involvement will only bring more senseless expenditure of “American blood and treasure”!
I believe that the Democratic Party wants President Trump to involve the United States in another Middle East quagmire because it will assist them with their Liberal political ambitions – bad for Trump, good for the Democrats! The sick aspect to that is that the DNC is actually anxious for young American military men and women to die in combat so that they can blame the whole mess on the Republicans. Beware advice from your enemy.
Will Russia or Iran now actually attack the United States or U.S. forces abroad in retaliation for these attacks? I don’t believe they will. Time will tell. If they do I think they’re in for a shock. U.S. forces around the world were hamstrung during President Obama’s administration, being required to obtain permission from the White House to engage an adversary. President Trump overturned that policy immediately after being sworn in.
What good will come out of this? Syrian chemical weapons development has been seriously degraded, and the Syrians will be far less likely to use these illegal weapons in the future. A strong message was sent to our adversaries – in particular Russia, Iran and even North Korea – and really to the entire world about using internationally prohibited chemical weapons. That’s what President Trump set out to do, and he succeeded – “mission accomplished”.
What would have happened if we had not acted? Syria, Russia and Iran – all of whom continue to possess and used chemical weapons despite the CWC – would be emboldened, believing that President Trump – just like President Obama before him – is too fearful of Russian reprisal to act against even the most heinous of war crimes.
And what of Russia and Iran and their chemical weapons? Had the U.S. not acted, instead sending a message of weakness that we are too fearful of war to become involved – as President Obama did in 2012 with his meaningless “red line” threat – perhaps Russia would use these weapons against the Ukrainians. Perhaps Iran would provide chemical weapons to her terrorist surrogates in Hezbollah for use against Israel.
Assad is a murderous monster who uses chemical weapons on defenseless women and children. Russia is major nuclear power that has murdered its own people literally by the 10s of millions since the early 1900s, plagued the world for decades with blatant aggression, invasions and wars, and who now uses her military in Syria to attack schools and churches. Iran is dangerous theocracy bent on acquiring nuclear weapons and an intercontinental ballistic missile system to deliver them. This is the reality of the world. We can either accept that or continue to ignore it as President Obama and the Liberal “nothing is worth war” crowd here in America do. No wonder Assad didn’t believe President Trump meant what he said this time last year.
America’s attack on Syria’s chemical weapons production facilities was legal, necessary, justified, timely, purposeful and restrained. There was no loss of American or coalition life, and minimal loss of Syrian lives.
You really must wonder what sort of culture can muster hundreds of thousands, even millions of soldiers who are willing to carry out orders to murder innocent people, even their own countrymen. The world wondered that about Hitler’s Germany back in the 1940s. The world has wondered that about a tragically long list of murderous dictators for a very long time.
Monsters really do exist.
Putin is a monster, and so were his predecessors back through Stalin and Lenin, and back into the reigns of the Czars. The “Supreme Leader” Ali Khamenei of Iran is a monster. Bashar al Assad is a monster. Kim Jun Un is a monster, and so was his Father and Grand Father. Chiang Kai-Shek of China, Pol Pot of Cambodia, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Hirohito and Tojo Hideki of Japan, Ho Chi Minh of Viet Nam… and perhaps the one man in history with more blood on his hands than any other single man – the infamous Chairman Mao Zedong of China… all monsters. Together with Adolph Hitler these monsters are responsible for killing well over 200 million human beings in the 20th century alone.
Taking these monsters out in the past has never been easy, and as each new monster acquires nuclear weapons it becomes even harder. Typically, until the entire world tires of their murder there is little that is ever done. Typically, we wait until it’s just too late to act.
It has been said that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.
President Trump did something. Now just sit back, relax and see how this unfolds.