Trump Shouldn’t Take Intelligence on Syria at Face Value

Rachel Marsden,

It was just two weeks ago that America’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power was no longer a U.S. priority. Syrian peace talks had recently taken place in Kazakhstan, spearheaded by Russia, which had even presented a first draft for a new Syrian constitution as a starting point for solving the ongoing conflict. All that was left was for the Russians and the new Donald Trump administration to join forces to wipe out the Islamic State.

But then, last week, Trump was apparently shown images of what appeared to be child victims of a chemical attack in Syria, and his non-interventionist campaign promises suddenly went out the window. He ordered the launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles from U.S. warships, striking a Syrian airbase and destroying some Syrian fighters — the same fighters used to drop bombs on Islamic State terrorists.

Casualties from the airstrike were minimal, but those 59 Tomahawks are going to have to be replenished, which is already a bonus for the U.S. war economy. War drum aficionado John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had long seemed frustrated by Trump’s apparent disinclination toward American fireworks shows, but McCain was suddenly commending Trump for letting ‘er rip, calling the raid an “excellent first step.” (Seemingly always hungry for a scrap with Russia, McCain also used the airstrike as an opportunity to accuse the Russians of being complicit in the chemical attack.)

syriaintel_small Trump Shouldn't Take Intelligence on Syria at Face Value Opinion

Trump’s domestic foes had desperately been trying to delegitimize his presidential authority by searching for evidence of collusion between his campaign team and Russia. Now, many of those foes are suddenly cheering him.

You’d think that before ordering the launch of any missiles, Trump would have said to himself: “Wait a minute, could it be that the same people trying to trick the American public into believing that I’m a Russian Manchurian candidate are trying to trick me into a knee-jerk reaction in Syria?”

According to the New York Times, in the hours following the chemical attack in Syria, “intelligence and military officials continue(d) to investigate the attack, giving them confidence that Mr. Assad is responsible.”

But how do we know that the source of the information isn’t corrupt?

Does Trump know, for example, that the sources for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons report published in 2015 on alleged chemical incidents in Syria acknowledged that all of their witnesses were pre-selected by a Brussels-based foundation called the Chemical Violations Documentation Center of Syria, which lists George Soros’ Open Society Foundations as its sponsor? The same deep-pocketed forces that Trump and Putin have accused of fomenting anti-democratic political action against them might now be doing the same to Assad.

Another of the CVDCS’s sponsors is the Asfari Foundation, whose board of trustees includes Ayman Asfari, a prominent Syrian-born executive of the British petroleum giant Petrofac. Asfari is described by the U.K. newspaper The Independent as “an outspoken critic of President Assad,” and he is a prominent donor to the British Conservative Party. Knowing that significant money was donated to the Conservative Party by an Assad critic, is Trump going to take party leader Theresa May’s encouragement to ditch Assad at face value?

Moreover, is Trump aware that the U.S. government, through U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funding, has had a mission in place since 2013 (and not set to expire until 2020) worth many millions of dollars for private contractors to “implement a regional program to manage a quick-response mechanism supporting activities that pursue a transition to a democratic and stable Syria”? Would a “quick response mechanism” include manipulating credulous decision makers and public opinion into supporting a missile attack to hasten a transition from the Assad government to one that better serves the interests of those who have long wanted Assad gone? Just asking.

This is the lucrative business of humanitarianism, mistress of the military-industrial complex. This mistress can’t be kept in the manner to which it’s accustomed if Trump can’t be convinced to keep the party going and the cash flowing.

Fortunately for Trump, all is not yet lost. The airstrike didn’t even disable the Syrian base. According to the New York Times, “Trump was looking for something aggressive but ‘proportionate’ that would be sufficient to send a signal — but not so large as to risk escalating the conflict.”

At least Trump had the sense not to take things any further — and nor should he ever unless he is able to independently verify the credibility of any information on alleged chemical attacks.

Trump is naive if he believes the same intelligence community that’s been so eager to take him down has suddenly become trustworthy.

  • DrArtaud

    I worked as a union safety representative for about 8 years, and during that time participated in numerous incident investigations, some quite serious and extensive. I’ve not heard a single thing from the Trump administration concerning the evidence of Assad committing the chemical weapons attack, all we hear is Trump talking about the pictures “of the children”. Incident investigations and Chemical Weapons Attacks both require investigation. A review of the facts, interviews, looking at video footage, etc. If we have nothing more tangible than sources on the ground, we have nothing. If we have something more tangible than those sources, we have the right to see it. Trump attacked a sovereign nation that posed no threat to us, circumventing constitutional requirements, Americans deserve to see the facts.

    If these children had died from a conventional weapons attack, would that have been different? Does the U.S. even bat an eyelash when genocide after genocide occurs in Africa?, the answer is no. An article in the news recently said most people think they’re nicer than they really are. If you look at the phenomenon of men’s weight, it’s easy to see that happening. Men tend to see skinny in themselves, even when their belly extends far, far, beyond a belt long since insufficient for the cause, and they see fat in others, often when the fat really isn’t. There’s nothing more ludicrous than a morbidly obese husband married to a near anorexic wife where the husband complains she’s gaining weight.

    Let’s talk weapons.

    Q. How many nations have dropped nuclear bombs on civilians?

    A. One.

    Article: Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    Hiroshima: 20,000+ soldiers killed. 70,000–146,000 civilians killed.

    Nagasaki: 39,000–80,000 killed.

    Total: 129,000–246,000+ killed

    The United States dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively, during the final stage of World War II. The United States had dropped the bombs with the consent of the United Kingdom as outlined in the Quebec Agreement. The two bombings, which killed at least 129,000 people, remain the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in history.

    I’m not even sure if this total is instantaneous deaths, followed by profoundly lingering burn and radiation deaths, or if those subsequent deaths were included. Can you guess how many children died instantaneously, how many children lingered and died? Out of 246,000 killed, I’m sure there were exponentially more children that died under various brutal circumstances because of these nuclear weapons than died in Syria because of chemical weapons.

    Why are nuclear weapons OK to be used to destroy civilian populations with but not chemical weapons? And, coincidentally, one of the atomic bombs was named “Fat Man”, taking us back to the example of obese men that overlook their own fat.

    How about the WWII Bombing of Dresden Germany?


    From February 13 to February 15, 1945, during the final months of World War II (1939-45), Allied forces bombed the historic city of Dresden, located in eastern Germany. The bombing was controversial because Dresden was neither important to German wartime production nor a major industrial center, and before the massive air raid of February 1945 it had not suffered a major Allied attack. By February 15, the city was a smoldering ruin and an unknown number of civilians—estimated at somewhere between 35,000 and 135,000–were dead.

    How many babies and children died immediately or suffered and died because of the Dresden bombing?

    Mind you, I’m not justifying the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but I don’t believe Assad had anything to do with it, by attacking the govt of Syria, Trump is aiding and abetting the terrorists, no one, except in a few articles found on Conservative Read, and a few other places, even mentions the Syrian Christians and how they’ll suffer with Assad’s demise, and I have yet to see the slightest proof that Assad had anything to do with it, in fact, Trump’s possibly foolish actions may cause terrorists to release the agent on civilian populations so they can blame Assad to bring about more attacks.

    I think the chemical weapons attack occurred similar to that described below, but a caveat, is this really a journalist? It’s suspicious that a journalist’s name can’t be found anywhere on the internet, so this may be more of the same propaganda we get from both sides.

    Video: Exclusive: British journalist destroys MSM lies on Syria

    A more trustworthy expression of concern

    Video: EXCLUSIVE: Michael Savage Begs Trump To Stop WWIII