Was the chlorine gas attack on civilians in Douma a false flag operation by rebels to draw the U.S. into the Syrian civil war?
On his show last night, Tucker Carlson raised that possibility:
CARLSON: Trump has to take action in Syria. Everyone nods sagely that ought to make you nervous. Universal bipartisan agreement on anything is usually the first sign that something deeply unwise is about to happen. If only because there is nobody left to ask skeptical questions. And we should be skeptical of this. Starting with the poison gas attack itself. All the geniuses tell us that Assad killed those children, but do they really know that? Of course they don’t really know that they are making it up. They have no real idea what happened. Actually, both sides in the Syrian civil war possess chemical weapons. How would it benefit Assad using chlorine gas last weekend? Well it, wouldn’t. Assad’s forces have been winning the war in Syria. The administration just announced its plans to pull American troops out of Syria. Having vanquished ISIS. That’s good news for Assad. And about the only thing he could do to reverse it and hurt himself would be to use poison gas against children. Well, did he it anyway, they tell us. Is he that evil. Please. Keep in mind this is the same story they told us last April. Do you remember that? It was almost exactly a year ago. The new administration announced it was no longer seeking to depose Assad from power. Regime change was no longer our policy. The usual war chorus in Washington starting yelping and he used sarin gas. There was video. We bombed a Syrian air base in response to that. At the time this show asked the obvious question are we really sure Assad did that seems weirdly timed and counter productive to him. Shut up, they explained of course we are sure. What an unpatriotic question. But, of course, they were lying two. Months ago the secretary of defense admitted that actually we still have no proof that Assad used use sarin gas.
Tucker is right to be skeptical. Indeed, the possibility exists – and it isn’t a remote one – that Syrian rebels are responsible for the chlorine gas attack on Douma.
The U.N. suspects that the rebels have already used chemical weapons, including sarin gas. The al-Qaeda-linked terrorist militia Al-Nusra may also have acquired chemical weapons.
Theo Padnos, an American journalist held hostage in Syria, had some interesting insights:
>> We saw the pictures so something happened. One of the first questions is the Assad regime the only group in the region that possesses these weapons?
>> Of course not. We have videos. And I have been in conversation with these people. Lived with them for two years. I know what their goals are in life. They are interested in carrying out an ex — a war of extermination against their enemies, particularly the against the Syrian, against the Syrian government, they are more than willing to use any weapon whatsoever. Anything it takes to rid themselves of their enemies. I’m quite per situated that situate – P persuaded their goal is annihilation of. Ambition to exterminate the enemy. I have no doubt this is something that they desire. It’s their dream. They believe they own this land that god gave it to them and that they should kick the other people out. Kill them.
Should we wait for months while experts carefully go over the evidence to determine exactly who is responsible for the attack? Any U.S. response at that point would be useless. The eyewitness evidence gathered to date suggests that the attacking planes were from the Syrian air force. But can we really trust those reports, given the history of this civil war?
Tucker’s question about why Assad would use poison gas now is a good one. But Assad is following his own logic, and part of his calculations in the war is his ironclad belief that Vladimir Putin has his back. Knowing that, he may well believe he can get away with anything.
I don’t think Trump’s desire to get out of Syria played a role in Assad’s decision to gas civilians – if he did. Assad is probably not very worried about a U.S. response, given his alliance with Russia and Iran. If he did gas civilians, it’s nothing he hasn’t done before, as several independent investigations have confirmed. He may well have believed that the world would not make a big deal out of this attack, either.
It is good to view events in Syria with a skeptical eye. Each side stands to gain by lying about the other, and the propaganda war is as fierce as the fighting in the field.
The truth lies somewhere in this murk. Perhaps we have other intelligence that points the finger at Assad. Orders to carry out the attack may have been intercepted by our intelligence people. Maybe we have a source inside Assad’s government that can confirm he gave the order for the attack.
It’s nearly impossible to make an informed decision when so much of what is happening is hidden from view. So the question is, whom do you trust? In this case, we must trust the president and his people to do the right thing and protect U.S. interests.