World View: President Trump Plans Military Action on Syria After Nerve Gas Attack on Civilians
- 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 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)
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:
AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA – IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING!
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.