Secretary of Defense James Mattis has clearly forgotten what he told the American people about President Trump’s unlawful attack on a Syrian airfield last year after it was reported there was a sarin gas attack. Now, he’s saying that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad didn’t seem to get the message last year.
“Clearly the Assad regime did not get the message [in 2017]. This year, the U.S. and our allies have struck harder,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis said at a Pentagon press briefing Friday night.
He went on to explain that the US, Britain and France struck Syrian targets.
According to Mattis, the targets were specifically selected “to degrade the Syrian war machines ability to create chemical weapons.”
Mattis said the targets included:
- a scientific research center near Damascus
- a chemical weapons storage center west of Homs
- a command and control area near the second major target.
According to the Defense Secretary, the strikes were designed to cripple Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities while limiting civilian casualties.
“Last year we conducted a unilateral strike on a single site,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford added. “This evening, we conducted strikes with two allies on multiple sites.”
Oh great! So, the fact that we had two more colluders in a strike without any evidence of the Syrian government’s involvement in the alleged gas attack makes it OK. I got it, General Dunford.
Notice that we are also told that this “crippled” the ability of Syria to produce chemical weapons and we are told it destroyed data and documents and stockpiles.
First, let’s ask something. If within the year, we hear of another gas attack, are we to believe that what is said above is true? Well, I don’t think any of the above is true to be honest.
Second, if the forces struck stockpiles of chemical weapons, wouldn’t that have the same result as what took place last year when the chemical weapons were apparently released in a strike? One would think it would be the same. So, does that open up the US, Britain and France to strikes of retaliation for unleashing similar deadly material? One would think so.
Third, General Mattis confessed this year that there was absolutely no evidence that Assad had gassed his own people last year. In February, here is what was contained in my report by Newsweek:
Lost in the hyper-politicized hullabaloo surrounding the Nunes Memorandum and the Steele Dossier was the striking statement by Secretary of Defense James Mattis that the U.S. has “no evidence” that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent Sarin against its own people.
This assertion flies in the face of the White House (NSC) Memorandum which was rapidly produced and declassified to justify an American Tomahawk missile strike against the Shayrat airbase in Syria.
Mattis offered no temporal qualifications, which means that both the 2017 event in Khan Sheikhoun and the 2013 tragedy in Ghouta are unsolved cases in the eyes of the Defense Department and Defense Intelligence Agency.
Mattis went on to acknowledge that “aid groups and others” had provided evidence and reports but stopped short of naming President Assad as the culprit.
There were casualties from organophosphate poisoning in both cases; that much is certain. But America has accused Assad of direct responsibility for Sarin attacks and even blamed Russia for culpability in the Khan Sheikhoun tragedy.
Now its own military boss has said on the record that we have no evidence to support this conclusion. In so doing, Mattis tacitly impugned the interventionists who were responsible for pushing the “Assad is guilty” narrative twice without sufficient supporting evidence, at least in the eyes of the Pentagon.
This dissonance between the White House and the Department of Defense is especially troubling when viewed against the chorus of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) experts who have been questioning the (Obama and Trump) White House narratives concerning chemical weapons in Syria since practically the moment these “Assad-ordered events” occurred.
On Friday, I reported that Syrian President Assad said, “Whenever the Syrian army achieves victory in the field, some western countries rise [sic] their voices and intensify their movements in an attempt to change the track of events.”
Indeed, that is correct. In fact, this latest attack baffles even firm Trump supporters like my colleague Pamela Geller. Last year, she was befuddled at Trump’s use of unlawful military action against Syria.
Today she wrote, “I am not quite sure on whose behalf we are launching these strikes. ISIS? To engage Iran?”
“There is no way Assad gassed his people,” Geller added. “To what end? To rile up the West? It makes no sense. He won, he is in place, why gas now?”
Exactly, but then again, Syria is part of a bigger plan, and many believe that Saudi Arabia and a gas line has a lot to do with it.
Remember that in 2007, General Wesley Clark spilled the beans on the Pentagon’s plan to invade seven countries in the Middle East. Syria is one of those countries.
Here’s what Clark had to say at the time.
What I did warn about when I testified in front of Congress in 2002, I said if you want to worry about a state, it shouldn’t be Iraq, it should be Iran. But this government, our administration, wanted to worry about Iraq, not Iran.
I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”
So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”
In my opinion, this strike has nothing to do with a false flag gas attack that has been contrived with the help of the Central Intelligence Agency. It has everything to do with bringing down the current Syrian government, and that is why our government cannot provide any evidence of Assad’s involvement in these attacks, not last year, not the years before and not now.
But Mattis is pushing the narrative since Trump has bought into attacking Syria hook, line, and sinker.
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