Political Editors / April 10, 2017

Syria: Conspiracy Theories and False Claims

The Leftmedia grabs the tin foil hats, while Obama’s claim to have removed Assad’s chemical weapons proves false.

As news has unfolded of the chemical weapons attack by Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria, followed by Donald Trump’s quick decision to order a targeted missile strike on the military air base that allegedly launched the attack, the Leftmedia’s response has been sadly all too predictable. On Friday, we correctly assessed that the Leftmedia would commit to keeping the Trump-Russia collusion narrative alive. Enter MSNBC’s Lawrence O'Donnell, who not only suggested a “wag the dog” motivation for Trump’s missile strike order, but entered fully into conspiracy theorist land by suggesting that Vladimir Putin colluded with Trump on the strike so as to, er, blow up the collusion narrative. Better start ordering those tin-foil hats.

The Syrian civil war is now entering its seventh year, and it’s proven to be quite confusing and difficult to determine which combatants should be supported and which should be opposed. Only adding to the perplexity is the fact that it becomes a foreign policy political football to be argued over regarding the “how” for U.S. leadership in the region.

Barack Obama’s approach was to talk tough, as in his now infamous “red line” comment, and then “lead from behind,” which amounted to little more than feckless attempts at diplomatic agreements. One of the now more glaring examples was the deal to have Russia oversee the removal of Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile. In July 2014, former Secretary of State John Kerry touted the deal stating, “We got 100% of the chemical weapons out.”

On January 16, Obama’s national security advisor, Susan Rice, attempted to defend her boss’s Syrian policy record, asserting, “I think [Obama] stated the U.S. view, which is the use of chemical weapons is not something we’re prepared to allow to persist, and we didn’t. We managed to accomplish that goal far more thoroughly than we could have by some limited strikes against chemical targets by getting the entirety of the declared stockpile removed.” But as we have learned with Rice, she has said several things that just aren’t true.

On Sunday, former Obama-era Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken said, “We always knew we had not gotten everything [chemical weapons] — that the Syrians had not been fully forthcoming in their declaration.” It would seem that Obama was more concerned about appearance than reality. Symbolism over substance. Who knew?

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