SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- On Tuesday, a chemical attack in Syria killed at least 86 civilians, including 30 children and 20 women, according to reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The magnitude of the strikes, and the horrific loss of life, forced President Trump to acknowledge the gravity of the vicious genocide unfolding. In a rare departure from the counsel of his unofficial foreign policy adviser, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump told members of Congress and Jordan’s King Abdullah II that he may consider retaliatory action: cutting of all financial aid to Jordan, which is using the funds to harbor Syrian refugees, and walling off the country behind a massive fortification along its borders.
United States May or May Not Do Something in SyriaTurkey’s health ministry confirmed that weaponized Sarin gas was dropped from Syrian warplanes across the northern reaches of the war-ravaged nation. The harrowing images coming out of the country depict the worse chemical assault since 2013.
After baffling King Abdullah by blaming the Obama administration for the war in Syria, and then shifting the conversation to his upcoming meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump offered an emotional statement on the plight of Syrian civilians, in his customary eloquence, as captured by CNN:
“Yesterday’s 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 were an affront to humanity,” Trump said, speaking in the Rose Garden alongside Jordan's King Abdullah.
The president also noted that he will be considering military engagement or other punitive actions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s stronghold. When asked by ABC News on Thursday whether al-Assad should relinquish power, Trump told reporters, “I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity. He’s there, and I guess he’s running things, so something should happen.”
Those powerful and decisive statements demonstrated Trump’s command of the facts in the conflict. Al-Assad is in charge, Trump supposes, and may be running things, which could include ordering airstrikes on civilians. Trump, breaking his past isolationist policy on Syria, also indicated that “something should happen.”
The president bolstered those strong and clear sentiments with an astonishing grasp of modern military tactics, in which he assured the world that America may or may not sit idly by while more “beautiful little babies” become lambs to al-Assad’s slaughter: “I watched past administrations say we will attack at such and such a day at such and such an hour. I’m not saying I’m doing anything one way or the other. 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,”
Blood Continues to Spill in Syria, Despite Specious Promises of PeaceThe New York Times clarified Trump’s criticisms of Obama’s Syria policy. In 2013, when the al-Assad regime unleashed a string of atrocities using chemical agents, the Obama administration conducted targeted strikes. After that, the United States withdrew its involvement.
As the Times explained: “Mr. Obama’s failure to strike Syria after that, Mr. Trump claimed, sowed the conditions for this new assault. The estimated death toll was reported to have exceeded 100.”
Vladimir Putin, the ironic international interlocutor for territorial sovereignty, condemned U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria at that time, excoriating the West’s aggressive actions as lacking “authority without buy-in from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,” a point Moscow emphasized to the United Nations Secretary-General. Unbeknownst to Putin, his friend al-Assad, who has decimated thousands of his own people since the 2011 rebel uprisings began, not only bought into the bombings, he cheered on American military forces for their assistance in wiping out even larger numbers of the civilians he detests.
“I have spent nearly three years mowing down innocent free-thinkers and democracy seekers in my nation, in addition to anyone else I dislike,” al-Assad said in 2014. “I didn’t think I’d have the resources to sustain this genocide. But now the United States, which I thought hated me, is lending a much needed helping hand. This will do wonders in repairing our strained relationship.”
Al-Assad added that he had sent President Obama a fruit basket and warm letter of thanks. “We don’t have the economic or military might of the West. You can’t possibly imagine what a relief these airstrikes have provided to our exhausted and beleaguered loyalist butchers.”
Two years later in November 2016, Russia grounded its warplanes. The move seemed to indicate that relief could be forthcoming. Putin unilaterally declared a 10-hour “humanitarian pause” in airstrikes on November 4. But the ceasefire, which took place between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., was temporary. Putin admitted that after destroying scores of hospitals and schools filled with children, his troops had reached their breaking points. “We’re going to need a good 10-hour pause to give our boys a rest so they can start slaughtering innocents fresh on Saturday,” he explained at the time.
Hope came again In December 2016, when officials from Turkey and Moscow announced the formal cessation of hostilities in war-torn Aleppo, vowing that “civilians and moderate rebels with light weapons” would have safe passage to the Idlib province.
“If they can drag their broken, limbless bodies to Idlib and cross the border on the bloodied stumps of what used to be their legs, they will be free to relocate,” a Turkish official said. But with this most recent attack, it has become evident to the world that al-Assad harbors no designs to seek a peaceful end to the bellicose, eugenic campaign he set in motion.
Insane, Racist, Insecure, Loser American Realtor vs. Deranged, Genocidal Syrian OphthalmologistAddressing the latest attacks, President Trump appeared profoundly shaken by the events. He said he would be considering all options on the table, including military deployments to Syria.
“These attacks were heinous. The devastation, absolutely heinous. Terrible, terrible, heinous, tragic,” Trump said. “They were as awful as the fake news attacks about me from New York Times, CNN and Los Angeles Times. As heinous as Hillary Clinton not apologizing for her email scandal or getting answers to debate questions. Sad. I see all these dead babies and stuff, and I weep. I see kids who will never grow up to get great jobs, like in real estate. Or enjoy a vacation at a Trump hotel. Or gamble in a Trump casino. I see dead little girls who will never experience the luxury and joy of wearing something from the Ivanka Trump fashion line. So heinous. And there were some great American babies in all that carnage, there in Siberia or Syria or wherever, from Utah, I’m told.”
The president apparently confused the Syrian incident with the March 22 terror attack in London, which claimed the lives of a couple from Utah who had been visiting the United Kingdom.
But experts in the United States have urged the president’s restraint in launching an impetuous military response against Syria and, transitively, its ally in Russia.
“Foreign policy in this region is a complex animal,” explained Edward Kraftstofflieber, a senior analyst with the State Department. “One does not simply walk into Mordor, if you will. We don’t want to rush haplessly into some Middle Eastern hell and occupy it -- again. Before shaping his decision, I suggest that President Trump consult the Cheney six-factor test.”
The informal assessment, named after former Vice President Dick Cheney, helps commanders weigh the necessity for military force on the following grounds:
Is there oil? Is there a dictator? Is he one of ours and still active? Can the country defend itself? Will any of our “allies” have a problem with us attacking? Does this country actually have WMDs (like, real ones), and are the victims sympathetic to Western audiences?
Given his tenuous relationship with Putin, al-Assad’s most formidable ally, and his already disastrous military excursions, the president said on Thursday he would favor a more diplomatic approach to containment, rather than a campaign for conquest.
When King Abdullah and Donald Trump met on Wednesday, they found common ground on their goals to weaken ISIS, which operates in Syria. On the issue of immigration, the two leaders stood in opposition. But from this difference arose Trump’s grand strategy.
As CNN wrote, “When King Abdullah II of Jordan was presented with a wave of refugees from Syria, he welcomed more than a million people into his country. When President Donald Trump was presented the same, he closed the door.”
Jordan’s monarch thanked the United States for its ongoing support, and he stressed his appreciation for the funding Trump has given his country. That aid, Abdullah emphasized, has helped Jordan support the millions of Syrian refugees it has taken in and currently hosts.
“We love our brown, non-aggressive Muslim friends in Jordan,” Trump said. “And we are united in our mission to destroy ISIS in 30 days -- in some 30-day period yet to be determined. But the reality is that wherever Syrians go, death follows. Doesn’t matter what kind of Syrians they are, dead little babies or Assad’s henchmen or ISIS. Fact is, they bring death everywhere. I don’t want it here and Abdullah shouldn’t want it in his house. To help end this terrible, heinous conflict in Syria, we can’t just focus on Assad. He won’t be deposed. There’s nothing we can do to stop him. Not my problem, honestly. But we can stop Syria. Just, you know, from being a visible part of the world.”
Trump proposed a radical plan that would involve enhanced travel bans and immediate deportations for any person in the United States, regardless of citizenship status, who has any cultural or national ties to Syria. Second, he would cut all aid to Jordan unless King Abdullah agreed to the condition that none of the money go to assisting Syrian refugees.
“No welcome kits, no food, no medical attention, no jobs, no nothing,” Trump reiterated.
And finally, Trump would dispatch the Army Corps of Engineers to build a massive wall -- three miles high and 71,498 square miles long, which would enclose the entire nation of Syria.
“I will make Assad pay for that wall, and then we won’t have to see those terrible, sad, gruesome, disgusting pictures of dead babies anymore,” the president remarked. “No longer will we have to watch YouTube videos of these massacres or hear the cries of broken, dying little kids. I’m sick of waking up to that stuff on TV. Aren’t you? I also don’t want to provoke Russia, if possible. Because then we might be seeing some even more repugnant photos on TV. Sexually deviant. Bathroom stuff. Disgraceful. Unclean. If we just close that place off -- out of sight, out of mind. And a roof. I want a big roof on it, too.”
After a stunned five-minute silence, Trump added: “Who knows? In 20 or 30 years, when we maybe pry the place open again, we could find a thriving new civilization. Or just a wasted, unpopulated oil field that could be purchased on the cheap by Exxon or something. Either way, it’s a win.”
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