Don the Con is at it again. Trump is the king of cons. He is highly skilled at using media, imagery and sound bites, to obtain his nefarious objectives of money and power. His latest con game objective appears to be more about getting himself out of the Russian investigation spotlight than anything else. Only this time, he's got the backing, money and might of the United States government behind his con.
Trump's Past Comments on Syria
Prior to the election, Syria was a popular theme in Trump's Twitter feed. When he wasn't slamming Obama and Clinton for their support of allowing Syrian refugees safe haven in the U.S., he was ranting about how we should not be in Syria.
"...stay out of Syria..."
Once Trump took the presidency, with the help of Russia as multiple investigations suspect, he kept his mouth shut. As Assad and Russia bombed and murdered thousands of innocent Syrian men, women and children, Trump played golf. This "out of sight, out of mind" tactic is his go-to response to any of Putin war crimes. Not once has he uttered a word or tweeted about the thousand of innocent Ukrainian civilians either murdered or caught up in the fighting in the Crimea.
Yet he had no problem commenting on the thousands of Syrian refugees that Putin created. After all, it was his fear mongering propaganda about Syrian refugees that helped him get elected. He not only stated that they were a national security risk because he believed they could be terrorists, he attempted to ban them from entering the United States. TWICE! Fortunately, our judicial system is the one branch of government that still has a backbone and it blocked Trump's illegal refugee bans.
Why Trump's Syrian Attack is a Farce
Assad's latest attack murdered innocent Syrians. Video of children being choked to death from gas bombs flooded our airwaves, and Trump claimed to be disgusted and horrified.
Yet Assad has murdered thousands of Syrians during the last six years, and Trump didn't bother to respond then. He didn't condemn Assad when he murdered them with chlorine gas or starved them by blocking humanitarian aid. Trump didn't flinch when bombs killed thousands of innocent Syrians or when they were shot dead in the streets. He didn't comment when Assad and Putin bombed the Syrian hospitals, schools and markets. Trump has even kept silent on the thousands of Syrians that have been murdered in mass hangings or who are still being tortured in Assad's jails.
Assad has been using gas bombs in Syria since the beginning of the war. The Obama administration released footage of one such asault in 2013. This latest was the third reported gas attack in a week. The two prior reports came from the Hama province. But neither the Trump administration nor the media said a word until this latest attack. It's not as if innocents weren't killed in the prior attacks, and both Russia and Assad have been bombing hospitals for years.
So what is different now?
The only difference this time is Trump's reaction.
Trump's bombing of an airfield that is reported to have initiated the gas attacks is suspect to say the least. Using almost 60 missiles, Trump's attack accomplished little more than creating some potholes on the runways and destroying a few planes. The White House even admitted to notifying the Russians before the attack. Yes, you read that correctly. Trump notified Putin, Assad's ally, before the attack.
Trump didn't even tell Americans or Congress what he was doing, but he told the opposition. By not going to Congress, Trump committed an illegal act, a war crime. As explained by the New York Times, legally, the president is required to obtain approval by Congress unless it is a case of the U.S. being attacked. We were not attacked. Trump could have gone around Congress had the attack been in the continued national interest of protecting the country from the Islamic State, but it wasn't. The attack was against a country that is supposedly fighting the IS. Trump further broke the United Nations treaty, which the U.S. has ratified, by not receiving prior authorization from the Security Council. He could have gotten around this authorization in the event that it was self defense, which again, it was not.
He did not do this because he knew they would say that his plan would have little to no impact. They would have told him to ask the U.N. to get involved and conduct inspections for stockpiles of gas, which is the standard practice. He would also have to explain why he was notifying the enemy he was about to attack ahead of time. In other words, Trump planned this attack with Russia. He notified them of the plans so they could get out of harms way and so they could then notify Assad. And as each news cycle passes, it seems more and more likely that this gas attack was created to benefit Trump politically. Many news outlets are reporting that Russian bombs were dropped on the Syrian hospital that was attending to the gas victims in an effort to kill any remaining witnesses. The Pentagon is currently investigating these accusations.
This is quickly shaping up to be a classic Wag the Dog scenario. Did Russia get Assad to attack and murder innocent women and children? Did Russia then try to eliminate surviving witnesses by bombing the hospital? Was this done so that Trump could then look like a strong leader by attacking an Assad airfield? Is that why Trump notified the Russia before the attack and failed to inform Congress? Why did he not attack the gas storage sites? Why was the attack so poorly planned that Assad was able to get the airfield up and running in a matter of hours? Was this all a show?
At worst, Trump and Russia are using this Syrian gas attack to make Trump look tough and to cover his ties to Russia. But this con game, with all its smoke and mirrors isn't fooling anyone. At the very least, Trump has broken U.S. law by not seeking congressional approval and committed a war crime by violating the U.N. treaty.
Don the Con is back.