By Joseph Brown | United States
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
But what happens when you’re fooled a third time?
In the wake of the latest chemical attacks in the suburbs of Damascus that allegedly left dozens of people dead, the world demands justice, while the Trump administration considers military intervention. Immediately following the news of the attack were accusations that the culprits were government forces, led by the Syrian President: Bashar al-Assad.
Such allegations have a familiar ring, as deadly gas attacks were recorded within the country in 2013, 2016, and now again this past weekend. Nobody knows the true number of casualties caused by the devastating conflict in Syria, but one thing is for certain.
Assad is not responsible for the gas attacks on his people.
It doesn’t take a master strategist to recognize how illogical the claims against the Syrian President are. After 9 years of bitter conflict that attracted the interests of nations from around the world, President Bashar al-Assad had become one of the most despised men in western society. His regime had faced fierce opposition from major world powers, including the United States, and the demand for his immediate disposal was incredibly high.
Ian Wilkie, a U.S. Army veteran and Director of the prominent intelligence company: Archer Analytics, elaborates on the precarious position of Assad: “He is under the gun, as it were, and under the glare of thousands of cameras. His motivation not to use chemical weapons is immense.”
The very thought that Assad, in such a delicate position, would use illegal weapons against unarmed civilians of his own country in a senseless act of violence that would surely trigger international intervention is outrageous.
Yet the claims continue.
Simply examining the chain of events surrounding the attacks reveals a disturbing pattern. In August 2013, the day before the first attack, Bashar al-Assad welcomed weapon inspectors from the United Nations to take inventory of federal forces in an act of transparency. The following morning, headlines all over the world broadcasted the horrific effects of sarin gas, after two rockets containing the deadly compound shook the city of Ghouta.
Are we supposed to believe that Assad would be stupid enough to order an attack on innocent civilians using an outlawed nerve agent in a city less than 10 miles away from where the inspectors were working?
The lies continued last year in April, after the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: Nikki Haley, announced that regime change in Syria was no longer a priority for the U.S. government. Only days after this decision, which was essentially a “get out of jail free card”, we were told that Assad again used the outlawed chemical compound on his people. Such accusations were met with a swift display of American aggression consisting of no less than 59 Tomahawk Cruise missiles which targeted a Syrian airbase.
And finally, only days after President Trump announced his plans for withdrawing over 2 thousand troops from Syria and ending direct American resistance to the regime, Assad again thinks its a good time to drop chemical weapons, an act which provoked a costly assault on his assets in the past.
It’s just like the legendary ancient strategist and philosopher, Sun Tzu, wrote in his book The Art of War: “When your enemy is nearly defeated, and final victory is at hand, gas your own people so that nations greater than yours will intervene and destroy you.”
Spoiler alert, he didn’t actually say that.
Nevertheless, the ridiculous accusations continue, in spite of the blatant fallacies evident in the arguments of Assad’s opponents.
The situation at hand bears a striking resemblance to another Middle Eastern country in 2003, when the United States falsified evidence of chemical weapons in the possession of Saddam Hussein to justify an invasion of Iraq, an offensive that had disastrous consequences for the stability of the region, and for American families.
But unlike in Iraq, where great pains were taken to convince the world of imminent danger, it seems as if hardly any attempts were made to create any sort of logical explanation proving Assad guilty.
In fact, after the United States launched its attack on the Shayrat Airbase in 2017, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, went so far as to say that the U.S. has “no evidence” that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent against its own people, and it is well documented that the Syrian government willingly surrendered its entire chemical weapon stockpile to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in 2014.
But as the Managing Director of the Libertarian Institute, Scott Horton, proclaimed: “Americans will believe anything, as long as it’s not true.”
Despite claims by various White House officials stating that they have obtained evidence of Assad’s involvement, no legitimate intelligence was offered to validate such accusations. Mr. Wilkie again offers skeptical speculation on the issue, saying: “The intelligence community was more than willing to show Khrushchev’s missiles, but they have no ability to share evidence with the public about Assad today? This defies credulity and calls the “evidence” provided in the White House memorandum into question.”
These lies have been almost unilaterally accepted by the international community, save for a few of Assad’s close allies, the largest of which being Russia. However, those who oppose an American military intervention as a reaction to the attacks are quick to point out the United State’s less than glamorous history with chemical weapons.
After all, the American’s wrote the book on weapons of mass destruction and chemical warfare. The U.S. remains as the only country in the world who has used nuclear weapons, and has done so twice, both times specifically targeting civilian populations, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths. American military forces used fatal chemical defoliants without restraint in Vietnam, supported sarin attacks against Iranian forces during the Iran-Iraq War, and used controversial incendiary chemical weapons to destroy the city of Fallujah in Iraq.
If the Tonkin Gulf Incident, Invasion of Iraq, and the War on Drugs has taught the American people anything, it is that the U.S. government is not afraid of exploiting the ignorance of its people for strategic maneuvering.
Another military intervention in Syria could prove catastrophic for American interests and global stability alike. The rising of tensions between conflicting powers has already taken the lives of thousands in Syria, and threatens to drag the United States into another pointless and expensive war.
Don’t let them fool you again.
“With lies you may go ahead in the world, but you can never go back.” -Russian proverb.