'Trump is classic embattled leader looking for war to steer public attacks away from him'
The alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, “will be met and it will be met forcefully,” Trump told reporters on Monday evening.
“We can’t let atrocities like we all witnessed… we can’t let that happen in our world,” Trump said, “especially if because of the power of the US, we are able to stop it.”
US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley also considered the alleged chemical attack in the rebel-held enclave to be a proven fact. The US envoy stressed that if the UN refuses to follow the US lead and intervene in Syria due to “Russia’s obstructionism,” Washington would respond alone.
RT: Russia's UN ambassador says no bodies, no trace of chemical weapons, and no witnesses were found. If the US is sure the attack happened, won't they want to investigate?
Dave Lindorff: That doesn’t seem to be where the US has been operating in Syria. It is a preconceived notion repeatedly when we’ve seen gas attacks that turn out to be much less than they appear to be. And frequently the evidence points towards the rebels having done the attacks themselves. This is par for the course, not trying to prove the point, but trying to have an excuse to conduct periodic attacks on the Syrian forces.
The US should not be seen in any way as an honest broker: the US has been lying repeatedly in order to have a pretext for war in the Middle East – in Libya, Iraq – and starting things off, according to WikiLeaks in Syria, with our clandestine support to the rebels. And we are ready to go into another great war... Somebody on the ground, who wants to keep the US involved, might well have thought that a chemical attack would be timely now to keep the US in Syria and even to escalate tensions… – Todd Pierce, retired US Army Judge Advocate General
RT: Trump has met his commanders and says there are a lot of military options. What do you think he'll do next?
DL: Trump is the classic embattled leader. We’ve seen this over and over in most countries’ history, when leaders get in trouble, they look for a place to go to war, to basically turn public opinion away from the attacks on them and “rally round the flag” kind of thing. It wouldn’t surprise me, I am sad to say, to see Trump doing some dramatic bombing campaign, and calling it retaliation for Assad’s alleged ‘poison gas’ use, and then he will be able to steer the story away from him, a least for a while, at the expense of people on the ground.
Last year, when the chemical attack was alleged and we did a missile strike in Syria, the US media gushed over it, thought it was a great fireworks display, not caring at all about the human cost on the other end and it boosted Trump’s popularity, particularly with the neoconservatives who have been winding to get the US more and more into war in Syria for years. And perhaps as a stepping stone towards the war with Iran that they have been seeking for years… And I can see how this just could be seen as a stepping stone toward escalating tensions with both Iran and Russia. – Todd Pierce, retired US Army Judge Advocate General
RT: A UN spokesperson says the UN cannot independently verify the allegations about the chemical attack. At the same time the US is talking military options. What's your take?
DL: Certainly, the military and foreign policy establishment in the US is pushing for some kind of military action in Syria, expanding on what the US is already doing. Trump had telegraphed that he wanted to pull US troops out, and it almost seems like this is the kind of thing that was set up to derail Trump’s plans for pulling the US out of Syria.