Home | About | Donate

Donald Trump, Syria, and Chemical Weapons: What We Know, What We Don't, and the Dangers Ahead

Donald Trump, Syria, and Chemical Weapons: What We Know, What We Don't, and the Dangers Ahead

Phyllis Bennis

Let's start with what we don't know. Experts remain uncertain what chemical(s) were involved in the horrific chemical attack, almost certainly from the air, on the village of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province in Syria. The nerve agent sarin, chlorine, and unknown combinations of chemicals have all been identified as possible, but in the first 48 hours nothing has been confirmed.

It is just not true that "we know " the Syrian government used chemical weapons before. Evidence suggests that it was rebels and quite possibly used to discredit the government and supported by the US


There is no sure-fire brilliant move to make with respect to Syria. No faction to support, too many moving parts, too many age-old tribal and religious animosities to untangle, too much of a track record of bombing that accomplishes little outside of creating more terrorists and refugees. Thus, no matter what move Trump makes, it’s bound to look ineffective.

So let him talk/tweet his bluster. His inability to understand what he’s dealing with–on this topic and all others–will be on full display. Besides, he’ll end up taking his marching orders from Israel and the Saudis anyway.


We do know that the United States Military is bombing in Syria as reports of huge civilian loss of life has come to light this past month.

We do know that the Trump Administration has put a gag on the Pentagon this week silencing information about their operations, mostly due to the ‘bad press’ resulting from the huge numbers of civilians killed by our forces.

We do know that Donald Trump would love for all the negative press to go away.

We do know that a declaration of military conflict commencing would have the MSM switch gears from ‘attacks’ on the Trump agenda, to the ‘attacks’ the U.S. Military would then be making.

So folks, does this all sound familiar?

The Dangers of Voting for the Duopoly, straight ahead.


I was posting a response to this Syrian story on another thread when Ms. Bennis’ piece came up.

Thank you Phyllis for a non-hysterical review of what, so far, is actually known.

Yes, the use of chemical weapons is a crime. The most obvious reason is their effects are indiscriminate and unpredictable. But, ask yourself, are they any more horrible than the other forms of death and destruction major military powers develop, possess, and grandly parade before their obedient and cowering citizens? I feel sure Ms. Bennis sees little distinction, but as for the manufacturers of consent? I’m reminded once again of Firesign Theater:

"We are marching, marching to Shibboleth,
With the eagle and the sword"

-the hymn of the Church of the Blinding Light -

O Blinding Light,
O Light that Blinds,
I can not SEE,
Look OUT for me.


The two halves of the duopoly see things in 3D:

Distract, Deflect, Declare War.


If Trumpsteer/Bumsteer’s poll ratings go below 30% he’ll have Jared & Ivanka send troops to invade and occupy Nordstrom’s; have Alex Jones replace Bill O’Reilly at Fox News and ask Robert Mercer to address the full house of Congress on, " Charitable Giving During The New Dark Ages ".:wink:
It’s endless war until the planet perishes. FYI-Thom Hartman has said the Syrian conflict began over drought conditions, causing food shortages and water wars. Climate changes and overpopulation, in other words. Who knows and would they tell us the truth, if they did. " It’s always about the money, isn’t it?
The PTB/MIC never miss an opportunity to sow chaos and take advantage of calamity for profit. Disasterous Capitalism or Disaster Capitalism? In the end it won’t matter much, will it?


We know we cannot believe anything we are told by any government, but true or not, Russia is reporting that this latest attack was by the rebels…again!


A forensic study should be able to determine what kind of gas was used and where it was produced. It should be done by a non-partial entity and it would be useful for assigning blame. But in no way could it justify more children being killed.

Not one can predict the outcome of this war, or determine further costs in lives, environment and money. One thing’s for sure, like all wars it was started by conservatives. Hate filled, elitist, misogynist, lying, reactionary, regressive, superstitious, fear mongering, war profiteering, authoritarian, totalitarian Mammon worshippers who call their theocracies “freedom”. Hypocrites who blame the carnage on liberals while worshipping liberal gods like Jesus who of course, forgives all their sins.

Direct Online Democracy

1 Like

Why would Assad choose to use chemical weapons at this time? By all reports, the war has been going very well lately for the Assad forces. Also, the Trump administration, just last week, had stated that they have little interest in getting involved in the war in Syria.
It is totally counterproductive for Assad to inflame a US reaction at this time. What would be a motive?
Practically speaking, it seems more likely that it was some kind of accident, or done by rebel forces to frame Assad, and get the US involved on the rebels’ side.


I agree. I get the feeling with this piece that Ms Bennis has been drinking too much Kool-Aid.

For example, she cites The Guardian, of all things, as her source for her assertion of Syrian use for chemical weapons, when that rag has been one of the principal cheerleaders for regime change in that unfortunate country and one of the primary obfuscators of the role of such bogus astroturf groups as the “White Helmets” (financed by the UK foreign ministry), the Aleppo Media Centre (financed by the French foreign ministry), and the “moderate Syrian rebels”, a group neither Syrian nor moderate.

I don’t necessarily doubt Bennis’s sincerity. Just her rigor.


And who is funding these rebels?

Is it not true that a similar attack happened a couple years back in Syria, chemical weapons/rebel forces were blamed, and turned out these were rebels supported by Obamas administration?



1 Like

Bennis has a penchant for her tendency to tread in safe waters - to appear clear headed and impartial at all costs.
I’m afraid that this should be questioned. She insists in calling the Assad government a “regime” while referring to the US gov’t. as gov’t. Someone should remind her that Assad was voted into power by his people while the present head of state of the US was not.
She insists that Assad has used chemical weapons but doesn’t mention the improbability of such just before peace negotiations were to be held and as Dogen points out, “Why would Assad choose to use chemical weapons at this time?”
Certainly it is clear who benefits from a situation such as this.


Cui Bono? Certainly not Assad. The real problem for the U.S. is Assad is a Russian thug; not a U.S. thug!


Yes, Justaman, the Firesigns!

“In the words of Our Founder, Yukypah Heef : ‘Give them a Light, and they’ll follow it Anywhere’”.



I quite agree that, whatever the means, a dead man is still dead. But I don’t totally get the values put on which ones died. Without the war, they might all be living a good life. The child, the mother, the old folks, the rebels, the US military , the Syrian government army. Without the military intervention of the US, they might all be living peacefully.

It was my understanding that this conflict’s root cause is about getting a pipeline along Syria’s northern border. That is never mentioned.


paz_y_justica, thanks for the great, informative video.

1 Like