Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical weapons attack in the Idlib Province of his country earlier this month. On April 6, President Trump ordered a massive missile strike against the airbase where the attack was reportedly carried out. At least 80 people died, including women and children. Some of Obama’s former officials have praised the attack, including Secretary of State John Kerry. We also have another round of Obama Screw-up Theater, namely that 2014 declaration that Syria had turned over 100 percent of its chemical weapons stockpiles, which was obviously not true. The rehashing of the Obama White House being in a state of paralysis by analysis and conveying weakness to the world by not enforcing its own red lines regarding chemical weapons was out in full force. Yet, last week, there was also another liberal theory for our response to this chemical weapons attack: Putin gave Assad the go-ahead to gas his own people, which would then allow Trump to launch a missile strike, diverting attention way from the congressional probes into possible collusion between Russian intelligence and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
Wouldn't it be nice if it was impossible to suspect Putin ok'd Assad's gas attack so Trump could fire missiles & change the subject in USA?— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) April 7, 2017
Grab the tin foil hats, folks. The liberal media had another aneurysm because President Trump did something a) presidential; and b) made Obama look bad with this missile strike. Trump put the world on notice that we’ll, you know—respond. Granted, this does bring up a fear that Trump could channel a policy of humanitarian intervention, which is favored by liberals (i.e. our Libyan adventure), which often brings more instability to the strategic situation. Nevertheless, no more strikes are planned, though Russia appears to have known about the chemical weapons attack conducted by Syria. Whatever the case, this theory is nuts. The most obvious reason, like the Russia collusion rabbit hole, is that there is zero evidence. Moreover, given how the Trump White House has more leaks than the Iraqi Navy, you would think that if something of this nature had been cooked up, some bombshell would have been dropped at this point.
Second, there is no evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, which sort of undercuts the whole motive for this whack job theory. Senate Democrats admit that they may not find solid evidence of collusion (probably because there is none). And Democratic attack dog, and the House Intelligence Committee’s ranking member, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said there is no definitive proof of collusion. Mind you this is after he said that there is circumstantial evidence of collusion and direct evidence of deception.
Then, there’s this aspect that Allahpundit touched upon. CNN reported that Trump told reporters at Mar-a-Lago that he wanted to do something about the “holocaust” in Syria a week before Christmas, and that the U.S. had a “responsibility” over the conflict. At the time, this was an off-the-record gathering.
If this was a “false flag” or a “wag the dog,” it’s a loooong time in the making. A much simpler, less sexy explanation for Trump’s evolution is that he’s surrounded by hawks in his cabinet, starting with Mattis at the Pentagon, and they’ve influenced his views over time. (Mattis’s opinion carries so much weight with Trump that it seems to have convinced to abandon waterboarding as an interrogation strategy.) In particular, Trump’s inner circle is unanimous in viewing Iran as a major threat, and Iran is of course Bashar Assad’s chief regional patron. Beyond that, the U.S. natsec complex has been grumbling for years that Obama did too little as president to warn Assad away from attacks like the one this week in Idlib. Chris Hayes of MSNBC noted on Twitter a few days ago how striking it was that so many former Obama advisors seemed to approve of Trump’s decision to bomb on Thursday [April 6], suggesting a lot of unhappiness down the chain within the previous administration about O’s passivity. With practically everyone in a position of power — except Steve Bannon, allegedly — urging him to send a message to Assad and the rest of the world’s bad guys by slapping Assad across the face, go figure that Trump would lean that way too. No conspiracy theory required.
Granted, AP added that the theory is also unfalsifiable:
If Trump and Putin make nice with each other, they’re colluding, but if they end up at odds as they did this week in Syria, they’re … colluding, manufacturing conflict to distract from the evidence of their previous collusion. Short of ordering a shooting war between U.S. and Russian forces, Trump is left with no way to prove that his objection to Assad’s WMD attack is on the level.
Yet, in September of 2016, during the campaign—Trump did draw his red line on chemical weapons when a failed mustard gas attack occurred in Northern Iraq. In short, if you use chemical weapons, the Trump White House is going after you big league. Sara Carter of Circa News interviewed then-candidate Trump in September of 2016, who said, “When you look at they're starting to hit us with gas now on top of everything else, that's a total lack of respect and you cannot let them get away with it. You have to go after them big league."
Syria is a mess that Obama left on Trump’s lap. That, coupled with his remarks about chemical weapons usage and his statements about our responsibility in the region to stop the “holocaust” there, it seems pretty clear that some form of strikes were coming. The recent attack only magnified a call for action. Liberals can wallow in the conspiratorial cesspool all they want—this wag the dog theory is absurd.