It’s fantasy to think U.S. backing of anti-Assad forces will lead to peace
By William Layer – – Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Was “Tomahawking” Syria for an alleged gas attack justifiable retribution, misfeasance, malfeasance or just a mistake? Was it a warning to China and North Korea as some have advanced? (This is the same line of thinking that bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was really aimed cautioning the Soviet Union.) Why would China, the “celestial kingdom,” powerful in her own right, pay attention; why would North Korea, in the hands of a madman, even care?
Given the vagaries of the Middle East, truth is the first and last casualty. The first accusation of a gas attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad against rebel strongholds failed the smell test; it was more likely done by the regime’s enemies. In the latest iteration, is there conclusive evidence of culpability? Maybe I missed it. It’s more likely that Mr. Assad’s jets hit an ISIS chemical weapons dump, releasing the poison into the surrounding neighborhoods. So far, the allegations consist of words like “likely,” “leads to” and on and on in that vein. We are presented with suppositions and possibilities, but that is all.
Should we take Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ pronouncements at face value? Could he not be given misinformation? Could assertion of an Assad gas attack follow the formula of the Tonkin Gulf incident? Who profits from the gas attack? Certainly not Mr. Assad, who lived in London and knows full well the military power of the United States. Why would he, winning on the battlefield, use gas, which he knows would bring on the opprobrium of the West and a military attack? Who profits then? Why not ISIS and its friends who, by blaming Mr. Assad, might inspire American might to remove the great obstacle to their Dark Ages mentality?
Mr. Assad is an Alewite, a Shia faction heretical in the eyes of Sunni ISIS and, therefore, their enemy. As a Baathist, and therefore a modernizer, he is also antithetical to those Muslims who wish to resurrect a caliphate. The Baathist Party, which he represents, was founded by Michel Afliq, a Christian. It is a party that, in spite of its jumble of nationalism, Arabism and socialism, has seen itself as a bringing Arab society into the present, releasing it from the straitjacket of an Islam mired in the 12th century.
Compounding their offenses, the Assad family has protected Christians, whom the caliphate crowd see as infidels deserving of death. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, they have never passed up the opportunity to reinforce their hatred of Christianity or other Muslims. The press gives short shrift to the atrocities against Christians in the Middle East, and never reports on the efforts of Franciscan monks in Aleppo to relieve suffering caused by the civil war and the Muslim militias. In short, if Mr. Assad were to go, Alewites and Christians would be on the extermination list. With no alternative other than the death for him and his supporters and clients, Mr. Assad will hold on.
Knowledge of Syria by this administration and its predecessor is shallow at best. T.E. Lawrence wrote in his “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” that the Arab delights in chicanery. In hospitality, the Arabs can be extremely generous (as I experienced in Iraq), but was Lawrence right in saying that they were also “unstable as water” and that we delude “ourselves that perhaps peace might find the Arabs able to defend themselves with paper tools”?
The Syrian situation amply supplies examples of all. The Obama administration’s policy, enunciated by U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power as a “duty to protect” (i.e., U.S. intervention in the “Arab Spring”), was a dangerous absurdity in lands whose undercurrents are unfathomable to the Western mind. It led to nearly losing Egypt to the Muslim Brotherhood and the unconstitutional attack on Libya, ensuring chaos and then the murder of Moammar Gadhafi, who was not a threat and who had kept a lid on the fanatical murderous rage of ISIS.
The history of the Middle East is one of bloodshed and oppression; this conflict is just another in an age-old saga. To think that by backing anti-Assad forces or removing him from power will lead to a flowering of democracy and peace is a fantasy. It would behoove this administration to examine the tumultuous French experience in Syria under the League of Nations mandate; we are not dealing with Anglo-Saxons. Unless the United States and the West is prepared to put troops on the ground, who would be first welcomed and then shot at, it is advisable to stay out and make them sort it out on their own.
• William Layer is a historian who covered Air Force presidential operations during the early years of the Reagan administration.
Erdogan: The ambitious sultan – Adam Baum – Medium
15 April 2017 21:21 CEST By Hasan Hasan* On Sunday, 16 April a referendum will be held in Turkey to codify Erdogan’s dictatorial ambitions and his plenipotentiary powers as an absolute executive whose power and authority cannot be challenged or checked. Think of an Anatolian version of Adolf Hitler and you’ll begin to get the idea.
Syria has been at the center of a decades-long plot by the United States to depone the sovereign government and install one supportive of its business goals in the Middle East.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly castigated President Bashar al-Assad for ordering a gruesome mass killing of civilians with chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun. Due to insufficient investigation, this accusation, unsubstantiated, sparked overwhelming support for the Syrian regime from both Moscow and Tehran.
Could Trump have earned a congressional green light and perhaps approval from NATO to obliterate Syrian Arab Army forces responsible if the account of an ordered chemical weapons attack proved immutably true? Potentially.
Fifty-nine $1.87 million Tomahawk missiles raining down on a Syrian air base not long after the toxic gassing proves Trump to “stay in line” with a succession of pompously militant and combative presidents. It shows he is stands alongside the neocon political establishment’s longstanding mission to forcibly bend Syria to its own will.
“Syria at present has a hammerlock on US interests both in Lebanon and in the Gulf — through closure of Iraq’s pipeline thereby threatening Iraqi internationalization of the war. The US should consider sharply escalating the pressures against Assad through covertly orchestrating simultaneous military threats against Syria from three border states hostile to Syria: Iraq, Israel and Turkey.”
1983 CIA Document Reveals Plan To Destroy Syria, Foreshadows Current Crisis
Fuller’s analysis conveys Assad as a nuisance hindering the American empire’s lust to control fossil fuel stores and protect ally, Israel, against multiple threats in the Middle East.
Destabilization of Iraq and Iran is also featured in the intricate U.S. plan to deal with the irritant, elder Assad, who recognized Western ulterior motives.
“Syria continues to maintain a hammerlock on two key U.S. interests in the Middle East.
Syrian refusal to withdraw its troops from Lebanon ensures Israeli occupation in the south.
Syrian closure of the Iraqi pipeline has been a key factor in bringing Iraq to its financial knees, impelling it towards dangerous internationalization of the war in the Gulf.
Diplomatic initiatives to date have had little effect on Assad who has so far correctly calculated the play of forces in the area and concluded they are only weakly arrayed against him. If the U.S. is to rein in Syria’s spoiling role, it can only do so through the exertion of real muscle which will pose a vital threat to Assad’s position and power.”
With Iraq seeking to obtain support internationally in the war, the U.S. had to scramble to prevent the shutdown of a pipeline. This is a dilemma Fuller suggests could be alleviated through a “change in narrative to present Syria as a more deviant enemy than even Iran.” That, alone, could have changed the face of the war bearing the names of the two principal adversaries, Sunni majority, Iraq, and Syria-allied, Shi’a, Iran.
“The US should consider urging Iraq to take the war to the other key source of its predicament: Syria.”
“The US should consider sharply escalating the pressures against Assad [Sr.] through covertly orchestrating simultaneous military threats against Syria from three border states hostile to Syria: Iraq, Israel and Turkey. Iraq, perceived to be increasingly desperate in the Gulf war, would undertake limited military (air) operations against Syria with the sole goal of opening the pipeline. Although opening war on a second front against Syria poses considerable risk to Iraq, Syria would also face a two-front war since it’s already heavily engaged in the Bekaa, on the Golan and in maintaining control over a hostile and restive population inside Syria. Israel would simultaneously raise tensions along Syria’s Lebanon front without actually going to war. Turkey, angered by Syrian support to Armenian terrorism, to Iraqi Kurds on Turkey’s Kurdish border areas and to Turkish terrorists operating out of northern Syria, has often considered launching unilateral military operations against terrorist camps in northern Syria. Virtually all Arab states would have sympathy for Iraq. Faced with three belligerent fronts, Assad would probably be forced to abandon his policy of closure of the pipeline. Such a concession would relieve the economic pressure on Iraq, and perhaps force Iran to reconsider bringing the war to an end. It would be a sharpening blow to Syria’s prestige and could affect the equation of forces in Lebanon.”
In context, then-President Ronald Reagan faced pressure both to insert military power in neutral Lebanon, and to prohibit military assistance in the troubled regional entanglement. Until a suicide bomber decimated a U.S. Marines barracks encamped at an airport in Beirut, killing hundreds, just one month after the date on Fuller’s Syria action plan.
“The October 23, 1983, suicide truck bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut International Airport would kill 241 U.S. military personnel; simultaneously, another suicide bomber killed fifty-eight French servicemen of the MNF several kilometers away. (Two weeks later, yet another truck bomb exploded in the Israeli military headquarters in Tyre, killing sixty.) An FBI forensics assessment called the Marine barracks bombing the ‘ the biggest non-nuclear explosion since World War II.’ According to a Pentagon commission formed to investigate the attack, it was ‘tantamount to an act of war using the medium of terrorism.’ Within weeks, the CIA determined ‘the bombings…of the United States and French MNF headquarters were carried out by Shia radicals, armed, trained, and directed by Syria and Iran.’”
The fact the CIA determined fault for the bombings rested with Syria and Iran left both plausibly responsible, with public perception largely following suit.
A situation eerily similar is playing out nearly three-and-a-half decades later. Behind-the-scenes string-pulling and long-term U.S. commitment to deposing an Assad from rule in Syria bellows resoundingly on failures of interventionist foreign policy. Or, potentially, success.
“Such a threat must be primarily military in nature. At present there are three relatively hostile elements around Syria’s borders: Israel, Iraq and Turkey. Consideration must be given to orchestrating a credible military threat against Syria to induce at least some moderate change in its policies,” Fuller explained in the document. This paper proposes serious examination of all three states, acting independently, to exert the necessary threat. Use of any one state in isolation cannot create such a credible threat.”
Syria is now a landmine for the Trump administration as it’s been in for a lengthy succession of presidents before.
To comply with the neocon agenda by raining missiles upon Assad’s forces would rightly emblazon the already blood-stained U.S. government as chief aggressors in a conflict nearing resolution, if not become the catalyst for a third world war.
National Security Advisor Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster’s past affiliation with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has created fresh concerns after research conducted by Disobedient Media revealed that the British think tank has taken funding from multiple governments in the Middle East and organizations tied to George Soros. McMaster’s former position with the IISS indicates a potential conflict of interest given the think tanks’ financial ties to sponsors who are anti-American and in some cases, states sponsors of terrorism.
I. The IISS Has Financial Ties To Middle Eastern States And Soros-Connected Organizations
The International Institute for Strategic Studies is a UK-based think tank with strong establishment ties which was credited by former U.S. Ambassador Raymond Leonard Garthoff in his memoirs as being a driving force in creating “intellectual structures for managing the Cold War.” The IISS has famously boasted that it “owes no allegiance to any government, or to any political or other organization” and produces research cited and utilized by a vast number of groups internationally. But on December 6th, 2016, The Guardian reported that documents published by the organization Bahrain Watch showed that the IISS received more than £25 million in funding from the Bahraini royal family. The leaked documents also revealed that the IISS and Bahrain’s rulers specifically agreed to keep the latter’s funding secret, which would be used to pay for an IISS office in the country as well as annual conferences on Middle East politics attended by heads of state and other powerful figures in Bahrain’s capital of Manama. The Middle East Eye also published research indicating that in 2015 this funding accounted for over half the IISS’ total income during that period.
A reference of the IISS’ Sources of Funding Statementpage reveals that the think tank also receives funds from a shocking list of special interest groups, including the Carnegie Corporation New York, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Executive Affairs Authority – Abu Dhabi, The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense, the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS), the embassies of China, Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and the High Commission for Pakistan. The IISS also accepted donations from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and the Ploughshares Fund.
The Ploughshares Fund is financed by the Open Society Foundation. A May 5, 2016 article by the New York Times revealed that the Ploughshares Fund was a major player in efforts to sell the Iranian nuclear deal to the American public. The deal has been generally criticized as a foreign policy failure, resulted in the transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars to Iran without any concessions in return and has failed to prevent Iran from continuing to illegally test long range ICBM missiles in violation of both the deal and international sanctions.
George Soros has faced backlash internationally in Eastern Europe, after his organizations were banned from Hungary and placed under audit in Macedonia amid accusations that he was meddling in the countries’ political processes and improperly seeking to influence public opinion. Disobedient Media, The New York Times and The Washington Times have all highlighted Soros’ financial support for anti-democracy movements in the United States who seek to undermine democratic institutions and pursue regime change. The billionaire investor’s financial involvement with the IISS seriously undermines their claims of independence already on shaky ground after the revelations from The Guardian and Bahrain Watch.
II. H.R. McMaster Served As Consulting Senior Fellow At The IISS
H.R. McMaster was appointed to the position of National Security Advisor after the resignation of Michael Flynn in February 2017. McMaster was widely praised by the media after he steered away from Flynn’s hardline stance towards terrorism, statingthat the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” was “not helpful.” Although McMaster has extensive counterinsurgency experience from his years in Iraq, his legacy there has been criticized by the Asia Timesas having utilized vast amounts of U.S. funds and resources only to leave behind an Iraqi government that was brittle and at risk of collapse, while failing to quell sectarian tensions that have allowed Iran to leverage interests throughout the Middle East and expand their influence through Hamas and Hezbollah.
From September 2006 to February 2017, H.R. McMaster served at the IISS as a Consulting Senior Fellow. The IISS’ website indicates that McMaster focused on topics relating to conflict and conflict prevention, development and security, civil-military relations and military history. McMaster’s close, longstanding ties to the IISS create concerns about conflicts of interest given the think tank’s financial connections to multiple foreign states across the Middle East and Asia, as well as figures like George Soros who are actively seeking to resist the administration of Donald Trump after the latter’s defeat of Soros-supported candidate Hillary Clintonin the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
McMaster’s affiliation with an organization that has taken money not only from groups who pushed the harmful and counterproductive Iran nuclear deal, but states who media reports and releases from Wikileakshave shown to be sponsors of terrorism in both the Middle East and the West raise serious questions given the many years McMaster spent with the IISS. The IISS’ connection to such parties will no doubt continue to dog the Lieutenant General going forward given his central role in advising President Donald Trump during the U.S.’s controversial April 6th missile strike in Syria and his belligerent rhetoricdirected at the Russian Federation over their support for Bashar al-Assad.
“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
The popular quote above has at times been attributed to Henry Ford, though it’s most likely a paraphrase of his actual words authored by Congressman Charles G. Binderup in 1938. In any case, it points to the self-evident fact that our economic system is so vastly complex that there are multiple contradictory schools of thought on how it works and how best to approach it. It’s so vastly complex that the few people who understand it are able to manipulate it to their advantage, and to the disadvantage of the overwhelming majority of people who don’t. There are a lot of shadows in all that complexity for the mechanisms of deception and exploitation to hide, and that’s exactly what happens; people get ripped off by a system they don’t understand.
If something is complicated, ordinary people who don’t have years of their lives to dedicate to its study are forced to take the experts on that subject at their word. If a doctor tells you that you have a certain illness which requires a certain treatment, you take her at her word, because her expertise is why you sought her out in the first place. It’s a highly imbalanced power dynamic, which is why we have things like the Hippocratic Oath to make sure experts use the power they’re entrusted with responsibly.
One pernicious side-effect of the existence of such power dynamics, however, is that people can be tricked into assuming that they exist in places where they do not. And I see this happening with the situation in Syria.
Google the words “Syria” and “complicated” together and you’ll come up with millions of results, because the corporate media is fond of marrying those two terms in the audience’s mind when discussing Syrian affairs. They’re the experts; you cannot possibly hope to understand what’s happening in the nation that America’s neocon hobgoblins have been salivating over invading since at least 2001, so you need to rely on their expertise. The major plot hole in that story: those people have never taken anything like a Hippocratic Oath for their practice, and the situation in Syria is not actually too complicated for you to understand. Every day I speak to Americans who are under the mistaken impression that understanding the Syrian dilemma is a goal they can’t possibly hope to attain, so here are some basic facts that can give you enough of an understanding to see through the illusion of complexity they’re trying to lull you into:
1. Your government is lying to you and the media is helping them.
For decades Noam Chomsky has been writing about how the corporate media is used to manufacture the consent of the governed to a system which disadvantages them. America has a decidedly corporatist system of government, which means that due to institutionalized legal bribery in the form of campaign funding and corporate lobbying there is no boundary between America’s elected government and the billionaires who bribe them. In 2014 a Princeton University study found that the will of the people has functionally zero influence over what laws get passed in the United States, despite everyone having a vote and the ability to assemble and demonstrate, while the richest Americans have a great deal of influence over what legislation gets passed. This is how the rich have been able to design a system which advantages them and disadvantages everyone else.
Who would consent to this? No one; that’s why the corporate media is here to pull the wool over your eyes. Virtually all media in America is controlled by a mere five extremely powerful corporations, which, in a corporatist system of government, are inseparable from the government itself. Thus America has in effect (despite Constitutional protections designed to prevent this) a state-run media.
What does all this have to do with Syria? In September of last year, independent journalist Vanessa Beeley appeared on the Ron Paul Liberty Report in a segment titled “Why Everything You Hear About Aleppo Is Wrong,” ripping to shreds the corporate media’s narrative that Bashar al-Assad is using the Syrian military to attack non-combatants while moderate freedom fighters oppose him in a civil war. Unlike the corporate propagandists reporting on the situation from the safety of their Hollywood studios, Beeley actually went to Syria and looked around and asked questions. Her findings have been corroborated by everyone else who’s gone there in the spirit of investigation as opposed to propaganda, from Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett to Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Which takes us to our next point:
2. Your government has been fighting on the side of terrorist groups.
It’s been a known fact since 2013 that the moderate rebels who were fighting Assad had been overrun by terrorist groups and extremist jihadist factions, and by 2015 were essentially gone. When the corporate media talks about “rebels” in the Syrian “civil war”, they are talking about multinational terrorists groups committing widespread acts of terrorism.
It really is Assad vs. terrorists in Syria. Yes, it is that simple. No, it is not complicated. The only people trying to make it sound more complicated than this are the people who support the violent jihadist factions because they’re trying to depose Assad and take over the country, which would of course be disastrous for everyone, especially the millions of Christians that Assad’s secular government was protecting. Is Assad a great guy? Maybe not, but he is unquestionably better than ISIS and al-Qaeda. And the United States has been arming those terror organizations in Syria to fight against Assad.
3. Trump promised to stop helping the terrorists in Syria and fight them instead.
A lot of lefties don’t understand why so many of Trump’s supporters have been turning against him after the Syrian cruise missile strikes against a Syrian air base; there’s an assumption in liberal and progressive circles that all Trumpsters want war and bloodshed. Nothing could be further from the truth; much of Trump’s support came from people who are sick of America’s regime change interventions and wanted a Commander-in-Chief who’ll leave Assad alone and stop funding the terror groups trying to get rid of him. Trump has been saying since 2013 that America should stay out of Syria, while Clinton was advocating a no-fly zone that top military officials attest would have necessitated a war with both Syria and Russia. A lot of Trump’s support came from people who wanted to avoid more senseless war, and now here he is less than three months into his presidency committing an act of war upon the government that is fighting the terrorists in response to what was almost certainly a false flag.
Oops! Sorry, I got ahead of myself:
4. Your government has an extensive history of using false flags to manufacture consent for stupid wars.
From the Vietnam War to the Gulf War to the Iraq invasion, the corporatist power structures who run the US government have been deceiving the American people into consenting to military responses to non-existent threats. With Vietnam it was the fake Gulf of Tonkin incident. With the Gulf War it was the false Nayirah testimony which convinced Americans that Iraqi soldiers were killing hundreds of premature babies in a Kuwait hospital by removing them from their incubators. With the Iraq invasion it was the weapons of mass destruction lie and the deliberate psy-op by the corporate media to marry the ideas of “Saddam Hussein” and “9/11” in the minds of their viewers, which was so successful that six months after the invasion 70 percent of Americans still believed that Saddam was responsible for the September 11th attacks.
5. There is currently no reason to believe the chemical attack was not another false flag.
In 2013 the US and its international arm NATO accused Assad of gassing his own people, without ever investigating the fact that the al-Qaeda affiliate al Nusra was known to have such weapons and the UN’s Carla Del Ponte statingthat the terrorist opposition forces were most likely the culprit. Despite this massive reason to doubt this narrative, it is to this day being reported as fact that Assad used chemical weapons on his own people in 2013, and that he did it again last week despite having no motive to do so and every motive not to.
These corporatist propagandists are telling you that, on the eve of scheduled peace talks, days after the Trump administration declared its intention to leave the Assad administration alone, while winning the war against the terrorist forces, Assad decided to commit geopolitical suicide by openly committing a war crime that he knew for a fact would turn all of NATO against him. This makes no sense, and, knowing what we know about the US deep state’s love of false flags, there is no reason to believe it happened until we are shown irrefutable, unquestionable proof that Assad really did the absurd and suicidal comic book supervillain evil deed the corporate propagandists are telling us he did. As of this writing, no such proof has been offered.
There are many, many other reasons to be intensely suspicious of the official narrative about last week’s gas attack in Idlib which you should definitely research if you’re curious, but to keep things nice and simple here I’m just going stick to the fact that we know the US government uses false flags to manufacture consent for war, that it makes no sense for Assad to commit such an atrocity at this time, and that we’ve been shown no reason to believe the official narrative. If you still swallow the official story despite those three facts, you are stupid. Yes, it is that simple. No, it is not complicated.
6. The US power establishment stands a lot to gain by installing a puppet regime in Syria.
In my mind-blowing conversation with Vanessa Beeley the other day, I learned that there is no American criticism of Assad to be found anywhere online prior to 2009. Seriously. Google it right now and try to prove me wrong. Not only will you not find anything remotely resembling the vitriolic demonization you see about him today, you will find that in 2002 British Prime Minister Tony Blair actually nominated him for knighthood. It was not until Assad began advancing resource policies benefitting its allies Iran and Russia that this demonization began.
In addition to Syria’s important strategic location in the oil and gas resource battle that the US has been largely dominating via its military and economic might, Syria’s border dispute with Israel over the Golan Heights means that Israel has every reason to want to keep Syria in check, not only because the Golan Heights contains oil but because it provides a third of Israel’s water supply. Assad also launched what he called his “Five Seas Vision” in 2004, a strategy to use Syria’s supreme geographic location to become an economic superpower. Needless to say, such a plan wouldn’t sit well with the current king of economic power, the United States, which can only maintain its hegemony by keeping other nations down.
And of course, Russia’s involvement in the region makes Syria a prime location for a proxy war with the Putin government, which has been far more disobedient than a nice, compliant Yeltsin-type administration would be if America can force a regime change in that nation as well.
7. Syria is a sovereign nation. It is none of your government’s business.
Lastly, and with all due respect, please mind your own goddamn business, America. It is none of your business which proposed pipeline the Syrian government prefers. It is none of your business what alliances the Syrian government makes. It is none of your business if Syria’s leader is a dictator or a saint. You do not get to decide what a sovereign nation does with itself. That is not your place.
So don’t let the talking heads on TV dupe you into thinking that “doing nothing about Assad” is some sort of strange suggestion. Tom Ritchford said it best when describing US foreign policy:
Imagine you have a friend who makes a habit of announcing that people are sick, and then performing surgery on them.
While your friend does have the world’s largest collection of surgical tools, it uniformly works out badly for his patients. Always the surgery turns out worse than the disease, and much of the time it turns out that the patient wasn’t even sick to start with — because your friend has no interest in doing diagnoses or really any form of medicine except surgery.
Now your friend has announced that someone else is sick, and a few minutes later has them strapped to the operating table and is preparing the knives. But when you justifiably express dismay, you are accused of wanting to “sit back and do nothing”.
It doesn’t work that way, America. You don’t get to decide who is sick and who needs surgery. That is not your place. Yes, it is that simple. No, it is not complicated.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, please consider helping me out by sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following me on Twitter, or even tossing me some money on Patreon so I can keep this gig up.
Donald Trump‘s decision to launch cruise missile strikes on a Syrian Air Force Base was based on a lie.
In the coming days the American people will learn that the Intelligence Community knew that Syria did not drop a military chemical weapon on innocent civilians in Idlib. Here is what happened:
The Russians briefed the United States on the proposed target. This is a process that started more than two months ago. [prior to the Chemical Weapons attack] There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate and deconflict (i.e., prevent US and Russian air assets from shooting at each other) the upcoming operation.
The United States was fully briefed on the fact that there was a target in Idlib and that the Russians believed it was a weapons/explosives depot for Islamic rebels.
The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion. That did not happen. Instead, smoke, chemical smoke, began billowing from the site. It turns out that the Islamic rebels used that site to store chemicals, not sarin, that were deadly. The chemicals included organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind and killed civilians.
There was a strong wind blowing that day and the cloud was driven to a nearby village and caused casualties.
We know it was not sarin. How? Very simple. The so-called “first responders” handled the victims without gloves. If this had been sarin they would have died. Sarin on the skin will kill you. How do I know? I went through “Live Agent” training at Fort McClellan in Alabama.
There are members of the U.S. military who were aware that this strike would occur and it was recorded. There is a film record. At least the Defense Intelligence Agency knows that this was not a chemical weapon attack. In fact, Syrian military chemical weapons were destroyed with the help of Russia.
This is Gulf of Tonkin 2. How ironic. Donald Trump correctly castigated George W. Bush for launching an unprovoked, unjustified attack on Iraq in 2003. Now we have President Donald Trump doing the same damn thing. Worse in fact. Because the intelligence community had information showing that there was no chemical weapon launched by the Syrian Air Force.
Here’s the good news. The Russians and Syrians were informed, or at least were aware, that the [cruise missile] attack was coming. They were able to remove a large number of their assets. The base the United States hit was something of a backwater. Donald Trump gets to pretend that he is a tough guy. He is not. He is a fool.
This attack was violation of international law. Donald Trump authorized an unjustified attack on a sovereign country. What is even more disturbing is that people like Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and NSA Director General McMaster went along with this charade. Front line troops know the truth. These facts will eventually come out. Donald Trump will most likely not finish his term as President. He will be impeached, I believe, once Congress is presented with irrefutable proof that he ignored and rejected intelligence that did not support the myth that Syria attacked with chemical weapons.
It should also alarm American taxpayers that we launched $100 million dollars of missiles to blow up sand and camel sh**t. The Russians were aware that a strike was coming. I’m hoping that they and the Syrians withdrew their forces and aircraft from the base. Whatever hope I had that Donald Trump would be a new kind of President, that hope is extinguished. He is a child and a moron. He committed an act of war without justification. But the fault is not his alone. Those who sit atop the NSC, the DOD, the CIA, the Department of State should have resigned in protest. They did not. They are complicit in a war crime.
Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years. He is a highly decorated veteran of several of America’s overseas conflicts including the war in Vietnam.