This post first appeared on Russia Insider
It was clear from the first few minutes of War secretary Mattis's press conference last night that these strikes were going to be symbolic. They change nothing on the ground militarily. Russia's threat to respond worked - the US essentially backed down.
Far more important is the damage Trump did to himself politically. One can only guess at the pressures brought to bear on him to take this suicidal (politically) act. I'm starting to think that this whole charade, starting with the Skripal poisoning a month ago, was an elaborate plot to mortally damage his presidency, not to achieve anything in Syria - well, if so, the plotters have succeeded.
Trump has said and done many things that can hurt him over the past 18 months, but nothing as bad as standing up in front of the American people, and with great solemnity and invoking WW1 gassings, 'nobility' of warriors, prayer, and all this sort of talk, telling one whopping lie after another, looking straight into the camera. He knows they are lies, and a good chunk of the American electorate knows they are - I'm guessing 30% of the whole, and a good 50% of his base. That is not something you can come back from.
He just burned his bridges with a lot of people who think telling the truth is important.
Watching the conservative wall lining up against the bombing yesterday I wrote with great conviction that Trump would not do it, and confidently called it a day. How mistaken I was.
A video of Alex Jones sobbing is making the rounds, with a lot of schadenfreude from the left, and from those on the right who find it funny. But Jones is right, this is a tragic moment. He explains why he is crying, not because WW3 is starting (it most definitely is not), not because the bombings are an outrage (which they are), but because this is the end of the hope that Trump can succeed.
This will force Jones and the conservative base to turn on Trump. They will stay home in November. Syrians will weep today over their dead, as should we. We should also shed a tear for the death of a promise.
I listened to Trump's statement live last night. I was struck with the language. Who in the world writes this stuff? It reads like something written by Benjamin Netanyahu's press secretary. It is an embarrassment to America that our leader should be so beholden to other state's interests, and so willing to parrot their lies.
I keep asking myself, what could they possibly have on Trump that would compel him to do this? His delivery was a bit wooden, and he read off the teleprompter, somewhat resembling a hostage. We ran a story a few days ago from a body language analyst who argues that Trump is acting like he has been beaten this week. I'm starting to think she's right.
Doesn't he realize that nothing they possibly have could be as bad as this disgraceful lying? Lying is the absolute worst, the deadly sin that begets all the other ones. Any Christian understands that. Any relationship disintegrates when trust is lost.
It is a sad day. Trump just got beat, and beat bad by his opponents. It's time to look to other men to continue the revolution he embodied for a while. For that, at least, we should thank him.
The full text of what he said follows below. I counted 23 lies, which I underlined. I cringed watching a president I voted for stand there and parrot them, acting like he had a gun to his head. I know he knows they are lies, and so do 10s of millions of Americans. A sad day indeed.
My comments in parentheses. Video follows below:
My fellow Americans, a short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now underway. We thank them both.
Tonight, I want to speak with you about why we have taken this action.
One year ago, Assad launched a savage chemical weapons attack against his own innocent people. The United States responded with 58 missile strikes that destroyed 20 percent of the Syrian Air Force.
Last Saturday, the Assad regime again deployed chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians — this time, in the town of Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus. This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime.
The evil and the despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children, thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man; they are crimes of a monster instead.
Following the horrors of World War I a century ago, civilized nations joined together to ban chemical warfare. Chemical weapons are uniquely dangerous not only because they inflict gruesome suffering, but because even small amounts can unleash widespread devastation.
The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons. Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States. The combined American, British, and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power — military, economic and diplomatic. We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.
I also have a message tonight for the two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime.
To Iran and to Russia, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?
The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators. (This is exactly what the US is doing by supporting Israel and Saudi Arabia, among others)
In 2013, President Putin and his government promised the world that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad’s recent attack — and today’s response — are the direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise.
Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path, or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace. Hopefully, someday we’ll get along with Russia, and maybe even Iran — but maybe not.
I will say this: The United States has a lot to offer, with the greatest and most powerful economy in the history of the world.
In Syria, the United States — with but a small force being used to eliminate what is left of ISIS — is doing what is necessary to protect the American people. Over the last year, nearly 100 percent of the territory once controlled by the so-called ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq has been liberated and eliminated. (by Russia, not by the US, the US and Israel have been doing what they can to support them for years)
The United States has also rebuilt our friendships across the Middle East. We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing large amounts of money for the resources, equipment and all of the anti-ISIS efforts. Increased engagement from our friends, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and others can ensure that Iran does not profit from the eradication of ISIS.
America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria under no circumstances. As other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home. And great warriors they are.
Looking around our very troubled world, Americans have no illusions. We cannot purge the world of evil or act everywhere there is tyranny. (The US today is the main backer of evil and tyranny around the world)
No amount of American blood or treasure can produce lasting peace and security in the Middle East. It’s a troubled place. We will try to make it better, but it is a troubled place. The United States will be a partner and a friend, but the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people.
In the last century, we looked straight into the darkest places of the human soul. We saw the anguish that can be unleashed and the evil that can take hold. By the end of World War I, more than one million people had been killed or injured by chemical weapons. We never want to see that ghastly specter return.
So today, the nations of Britain, France and the United States of America have marshaled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality.
Tonight, I ask all Americans to say a prayer for our noble warriors and our allies as they carry out their missions. (That's rich, you're calling for prayer while lying through your teeth. You are insulting people who actually believe in prayer.)
We pray that God will bring comfort to those suffering in Syria. We pray that God will guide the whole region toward a future of dignity and of peace. (I don't believe you are praying for that, or that you believe in God, for if you did, you wouldn't do what you are doing right now)
And we pray that God will continue to watch over and bless the United States of America.
Thank you, and goodnight. Thank you.
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